GUATEMALA CITY – At least five people were injured and two demonstrators were arrested Thursday on a second day of protests by Guatemalan peasants demanding passage of a law to promote comprehensive rural development.
Police sent to clear roadblocks from a highway in the eastern province of Chiquimula came under gunfire from protesters, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told reporters.
Three officers were injured, including a policewoman who remains hospitalized in serious condition, the minister said.
Daniel Pascual, a leader of the Peasants Unity Committee that organized the protests, said one demonstrator was wounded and two others arrested.
“Police attempted to prevent the protest and there was a brawl,” Pascual said. “A Maya Chariti woman was injured by bullets.”
In the western district of Cuatro Caminos, a bus passenger was injured when demonstrators threw rocks at the vehicle, according to Dalia Santos, a spokeswoman for the Transit Police.
Hundreds of peasants again blocked roads in at least 26 sites around the country, while some 500 demonstrators camped outside Congress to press for legislation to promote rural development.
The peasants also want the government to stop issuing mining concessions without prior consultation with the affected communities.