On October 4, 2012, Maya K’iche’ communities carried out a peaceful protest organized by the Alcaldía Indígena (Indigenous authority) of the 48 Cantones of Totonicapán, in the regions of Alaska, Xecanchavox and Cuatro Caminos in the highlands in Guatemala.
The protesters demanded:
- That the State work to scale back the most recent hikes in electricity costs;
- That the government take a holistic approach to national education reform;
- That the government reverse the trend toward militarization of civil society, reflected in the proposed constitutional reforms.
During the demonstration, Guatemalan Military and National Civil Police forces appeared at the protest and shot indiscriminately at the demonstrators, leaving 8 dead and over 35 people wounded.
With the pain of the recent genocide still fresh in the historic memory of indigenous communities, it is extremely concerning that acts of state violence are once again taking place in Guatemala against indigenous people who seek to exercise their legitimate rights to free speech and peaceful protest.
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