President Decrees Second State Of Prevention

CITY OF GUATEMALA (AP) – In just 10 days of government, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei decreed on Friday the second state of prevention in order to fight crime.

The municipality of Villa Nueva, south of the Guatemalan capital, is one of the largest in the country and where violence has turned it into a red zone.

"Another municipality where crime has prevailed for many years and has been working at ease and where recovery and control begins today," Giammattei said in announcing the state of prevention through a message to the nation.

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The state of prevention will last for six days during which the police will be allowed to prevent the right to strike, militarize public services and intervene in private services, limit public demonstrations, shows or outdoor celebrations; forcibly dissolve meetings or protests and order the dissemination bodies to avoid publications that incite the alteration of public order.

Giammattei asked the population to denounce the alleged criminals anonymously, which has been criticized by some sectors that believe it could be subject to some form of abuse.

This is the second state of prevention ordered by Giammattei. The first was applied in the municipalities of Mixco and San Juan Sacatepéquez.

According to the prosecution, during the seven days that the state of prevention lasted in those municipalities, 31 people were arrested, three firearms were seized and 86 raids were carried out, which he described as a success.

According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, Guatemala closed 2019 with a homicide rate of 21.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, a decrease that the authorities attributed to the increase in police personnel that went from 36,200 in 2016 to 42,500 today.

During the campaign and in the inauguration, Giammattei announced that he would present to Congress an initiative to declare gangs as terrorist groups. The proposal has not yet been delivered to Parliament.

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