Tens of thousands of Guatemalans protested in Guatemala City on Thursday, demanding the resignation of President Otto Perez, who has been accused of involvement in a customs racket by the attorney general.
Protestors held banners proclaiming, “Guatemala has no president” in massive demonstrations that spread from the capital to various other regions of the country. A wide array of businesses shut down for the day in solidarity with the opposition movement.
Refusing to resign, Perez has instead opted to submit to the legal process against him. However, on Guatemalan radio, he acknowledged that resignation was an option: “It’s a personal decision. I have asked God for great wisdom so I can be enlightened and take the best decisions for the Guatemalan people,” said Perez.
Both the protests and the legal process against Perez come days before presidential elections, scheduled for Sept. 6. The Guatemalan Supreme Court has accepted the attorney general’s request for impeachment, but the request also has to pass Congress to be successful.
Turkish anti-terrorist police detained two British journalists from Vice News on Friday for reporting from the predominantly Kurdish southeast without proper government accreditation.
Security sources say the two journalists were detained in Diyarbakir, Turkey, where they were filming clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish militants.
Vice News declined to identify the two journalists, but said in an e-mailed statement that they are “working closely with the relevant authorities to secure their immediate release.”
Turkish security sources said the two journalists and their Turkish translator were in close contact with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, a group that has been in conflict with Turkey for decades and has demanded separation from Turkey to create an independent Kurdistan.
A two-and-a-half year ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed in July after a group close to the PKK shot and killed two Turkish police officers.
Nearly 80,000 people had signed a petition by Monday, urging the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes when he arrives in London for a scheduled visit next month.
The petition, which is posted on the government’s website, was launched by Damian Moran. Referring to the 51-day offensive by Israeli forces in Gaza last year, the petition says, “Under international law [Netanyahu] should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014.”
Under British law, any petition that reaches 100,000 signatories is eligible to be considered for debate in the United Kingdom’s parliament.
After acknowledging the terrible toll of last year’s conflict in Gaza, the British government responded to the document stating that visiting heads of foreign governments have immunity from legal processes, and therefore cannot be arrested or detained.
Israel’s embassy in London called Moran’s petition against Netanyahu a “meaningless publicity stunt.”