GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Former soldiers who are demanding they be paid a war-time bonus for serving in Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war burst onto the grounds of the country’s congress building Tuesday and set several vehicles on fire.
The protesters broke down gates leading into the building’s parking lot and torched at least three vehicles. Some demonstrators were carrying machetes and others fled to safety from congressmen.
Carlos Barreda, a legislator wrote that his fellow colleagues had been trapped in the building. Luis Fernando Pineda (another legislator) wrote that former soldiers set fires to nearby offices.
The soldiers eventually arrived to drive the protestors out. This civil war saw the police and army fighting leftist rebels. In 1996, peace accords were signed.
Ex-soldiers are requesting a $16,000 bonus for their participation in the civil war that saw at least 200,000 deaths, most of which were civilians.
According to a commission of independent investigators, the majority of deaths were caused by the U.S-backed Army.