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Guatemala prosecutors pursue president-elect and pupil protesters over campus takeover

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GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan prosecutors mentioned Thursday they are going to search to strip President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and a number of other members of his occasion of their immunity for allegedly making social media posts that inspired college students to take over a public college in 2022.

Cultural Heritage prosecutor Ángel Saúl Sánchez introduced the transfer geared toward Arévalo and members of his Seed Motion at a information convention whereas federal brokers executed search warrants and sought to arrest greater than 30 pupil members of the occasion.

It was solely the most recent authorized salvo in opposition to Arévalo, an anti-corruption crusader who shocked the nation by successful the presidential election in August. America authorities, Group of American States and different outdoors observers have steered the authorized assaults are an try and maintain Arévalo from taking energy in January.

Legal professional Basic Consuelo Porras and outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei have denied political motivations.

Since Arévalo received a spot within the August runoff, prosecutors have been pursuing his occasion on accusations of wrongdoing within the gathering of the required signatures to register years earlier. A choose suspended the occasion at prosecutors’ request.

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Among the many crimes prosecutors plan to pursue in opposition to Arévalo and others within the new case are aggravated usurpation, sedition and unlawful affiliation.

In April 2022, college students took over San Carlos College, Guatemala’s solely public college, following what they thought-about the fraudulent election of the college’s new rector Walter Mazariegos. They mentioned that in the course of the vote by college students, school and directors, Mazariegos solely allowed those that would vote for him to solid their ballots.

The U.S. State Division sanctioned Mazariegos for suffocating democratic processes and taking the place of rector after what it referred to as a fraudulent course of.

The scholars didn’t stand down till June of this 12 months.

Within the case introduced Thursday, one of many examples given in prosecutors’ paperwork is a message by which Arévalo congratulated the protesters on X, previously referred to as Twitter, in March: “the USAC is making it doable to see a ray of hope in Guatemala.”

On Thursday, Arévalo referred to as the Legal professional Basic’s Workplace’s actions in opposition to his occasion “spurious and unacceptable.”

It got here sooner or later after the Group of American States everlasting council accepted a decision calling Guatemala’s Legal professional Basic’s Workplace an undemocratic actor attempting to “discredit and impede” the democratic transition of energy.

Marcela Blanco, a younger occasion activist, posted on social media Thursday that brokers had come to her house to arrest her and had been intimidating her.

“I’m a citizen, I’m of the folks and they’re doing this to me for talking in opposition to corruption,” she wrote. “I ask on your assist.”

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