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News > Latin America

Guatemalan Police Raids Human Rights Defenders' Places

  • Police forces, El Estor, Guatemala, Oct. 2021

    Police forces, El Estor, Guatemala, Oct. 2021 | Photo: Twitter/ @HsilvAvalos

Published 26 October 2021

Indigenous communities at the El Estor area have been protesting against the illegal operation of a mining company.

Since President Alejandro Giammattei declared "State of Siege" in El Estor on Sunday, the Guatemalan police have carried out 5 illegal raids against a radio station, a human rights organization, and a journalist's house.


Guatemala Decrees the State of Siege in El Estor Municipality

Oct. 24 police officers raided the installations of the Radio Xyaab’ Tzuultaq’a, under the pretense of searching for drugs or weapons. The station supports the Indigenous community which has been protesting against the mining company in the zone.  

The Q'eqchi' Ombudsman's office was also a target of the raids. It had previously denounced the Giammatte administration's failure to respect a 2019 court order that suspended the Phoenix Mining Company's license.

On Tuesday, Police forces detained Juan Bautista Xol, a Community Press journalist who for Community Press who had covered the protests. 

"Instead of upholding a court ruling, the government is protecting the illegal work of the mining company and is repressing the people and journalists", Human Rights Ombudsman Jordan Rodas said.

Politicians and social activists performed a peaceful protest in Guatemala City in support of the Indigenous resistance in El Estor. They also demanded the end of the State of Siege, which has allowed human rights violations.

El Estor inhabitants had been peacefully protesting and blocking access to the mining company, in an effort to stop the pollution of the area in which they live. Over the weekend, however, the police attacked the Indigenous community with tear gas.

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