On Saturday, April 16, the community-based collective, Kojk’astaj Xenacoj and Solidarity Festivals organized a concert in defense of life and nature in the Santo Domingo Xenacoj Park, Sacatepéquez.
The Sacatepéquez communities are resisting the installation of the El Progreso cement company.
The Kaqchikel Maya singer-songwriter Sara Curruchich was one of the participating artists.
On Saturday, April 16, around 11 pm, when the concert was ending, a group of around 100 masked men bearing high calibre arms and machetes surrounded the park and detained Sara Curruchich and Laura Penados, Marcos Hernández and Yac Juárez, members of Solidarity Festivals. Amidst threats and intimidations, they told them that if they didn’t want the cement plant there, they could get out of Santo Domingo because “activists aren’t welcome here.” All this happened right in front of the National Civil Police (PNC) and the Army. In view of the persistent threats, a personal appeal was made and an alert was sounded. The aforementioned people were able to leave, escorted by staff members of the Attorney General’s Office for Human Rights and the PNC.
At the same time this was happening in Santo. Domingo Xenacoj Park, Lucia Ixchú Hernández and Carlos Ernesto Cano Ispaché were intercepted on the road to the Panamerican Highway on their way to the Capital. by a Toyota Hi-Lux vehiclefrom which several men armed with AK-47s emerged. They forced Lucía and Carlos to get out of their car and threatened them with the warning that they’d better stop their activities against the cement company.
IM-Defensoras and the National Network of Women Defenders of Guatemala strongly condemn these aggressive acts and demand that the Guatemalan authorities comply with their obligation to guarantee the safety and security of rights defenders, as well as their right to freedom of expression and to defend human rights.