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Guatemalans march against racism and indigenous and black resistance

This content was published on Oct 13, 2021 – 00:08

(Updated with information on two arrested for monument demolition in sixth paragraph)

Guatemala City, October 12 (EFE). Hundreds of Guatemalans, mostly indigenous, peasant and activists, marched on the main roads of Guatemala City on Tuesday to protest against racism and for the dignity of indigenous people, black people and populists.

The call was made by various social organizations, chief among them the Collective People’s Social Gathering, to protest the commemoration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the American continent on October 12, 1492 which is called in Spain “Spanish Day”. .

But in Guatemala and other countries in the region, indigenous and peasant organizations have renamed the date “Day of Popular Resistance, Blacks and Indigenous Peoples”, in order to shout against “European conquest” and even “false independence from the Spanish crown (200 years ago)”, as the organizing group noted. .

The demonstration advanced from the obelisk, south of the capital, on Avenida de la Reforma towards the historic center of the capital. Along the way, the protest included graffiti and damage to some monuments, such as the monument to Columbus himself, to which they tied a rope but were unable to pull it.

The decapitated statue was that of the liberal general José María Reina Barrios, who presided over Guatemala from 1892 to 1898 and who is credited with accelerating inequality and dictatorial overtones, as well as the modernization of the Central American country, the construction of ports and railways and the Avenida de la Reforma itself, where this Tuesday his statue was painted red and demolished.

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The National Civil Police reported that five hours after the smashing of the Reina Barrios memorial, they arrested two people allegedly responsible for damaging the statues, after the Guatemalan municipality criminally denounced “acts of vandalism and irreparable damage” before the public prosecutor’s office.

against racism

The protest continued its course, and even humanitarian organizations such as “Solidarity Festivals” confirmed in a statement that “529 years after the European conquest of Abia Yala, plunder and colonization continue.”

Maya Keshi leader, cultural director and community journalist Andrea Eixo also emphasized that the mere existence of indigenous peoples “is resistance”, as they have been “529 years sowing the future despite colonial violence, genocide and environmentalism”.

“Our dreams could not colonize them, our work is our discourse,” he said.

The flag of the four peoples of Guatemala (Maya, Xinka, Garífuna and Ladino) in red, yellow, black and white and different from the official government in blue and white, flew during the whole flight, and also became a robe worn by many women who swelled in the ranks of the demonstration.

“On this new anniversary of struggle and resistance, taking place in the midst of a global epidemic, where indigenous people are the hardest hit by the terrible and disastrous administration of the government of Alejandro Giamatti, the exacerbation of hunger, poverty, abandonment, exclusion and structural racism for the State of Guatemala has been added,” stated the Maya Wakeup Alliance National Cage in a statement.

Giamatti’s government has canceled celebrations for the bicentennial of the Spanish crown’s independence on September 15, because the Central American country has experienced its third wave of coronavirus since June.

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The absence of official activities did not prevent thousands of peasants from demonstrating that day in at least 11 of the country’s 22 provinces, including the capital, where the Mayan celebration was held and the flag of the indigenous people was raised. From Guatemala, like those worn today on Reforma Street.

According to international organizations, 59% of more than 16.3 million Guatemalans live below the poverty line, most of whom are indigenous people, and about 50% of children born in the Central American country are malnourished.

About half of the country’s population belongs to the Mayan, Garifuna, Xenca and Afro-descendant peoples. EFE

ECS / Ga

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