Rio de Janeiro, 25 October 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Guatemala‘s President Alejandro Giammattei has declared a state of emergency in the country’s north-eastern Izabal Department following violent clashes between demonstrators and police over a mine project.
According to the decree, published in the official gazette Diario de Centro America on Sunday, Guatemala‘s Congress will now have three days to “ratify, modify or reject” the measure.
The state of emergency would last for 30 days and include a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am and a ban on gatherings.
The decree justifies the state of emergency due to “actions that affect the order, governance and security of the inhabitants by virtue of the fact that people and armed groups have carried out acts of violence against security forces and affecting the freedom of movement of the population.”
A group of protesters has been blocking a street in the town of El Estor for more than two weeks to demonstrate against the operation of the Fenix nickel mine.
The situation has come to a head in the past few days, with protesters throwing rocks at police and security forces who responded with tear gas.
Jordan Rodas Andrade, the Central American country’s human rights ombudsman, pointed out on Twitter that in 2019 the Constitutional Court ordered the mining company to suspend operations due to a lack of consultation with the community.
The operating company Pronico is a subsidiary of the Swiss Solway Investment Group.