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Note: Cuarto Caminos is roughly 45 mins to 1 hour south of Santa Maria Chiqiumula. If you were traveling to La Natividad from Guatemala City, you would pass through Cuatro Caminos.

Massacre in Totonicapan, Guatemala

Seven were killed and some 40 wounded on Oct. 4 when security forces attacked a protest road blockade by Maya indigenous campesinos in Guatemala's highland department of Totonicapán. Protesters were blocking Cuatro Caminos intersection, a meeting point for roads linking the towns of Totonicapán, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango and the capital, Guatemala City. President Otto Pérez Molina initially denied that soldiers on the scene were armed, saying the violence began when a private security guard on a cargo truck fired his gun in an attempt to clear the crowd. After Guatemalan newspapers ran photos from the scene clearly showing soldiers armed with rifles, Pérez changed his story, admitting the troops were armed but saying they only fired in the air after the protesters "tried to lynch" them. A private security guard and the seven soldiers who fired their weapons are under investigation by civil authorities, but Defense Minister Ulises Anzueto said the troops will remain in the army pending completion of the probe. Eight soldiers supposedly injured in the confrontation were presented to reporters at Anzueto's press conference in the capital.

Human Rights Prosecutor Jorge de León confirmed that shells from the ammunition used by the standard army issue Israeli Galil assault rifles were found on the scene, as well as shells from another type of ammunition, presumably that fired by the security guard. The demonstration was organized by the Committee of the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán, to oppose rising electricity rates and constitutional and educational reforms proposed by Pérez. The Committee said that when the attack occurred, some of its leaders were in Guatemala City waiting to meet with Pérez....Read more

What were the demands of the protestors? Read more here

In response to the massacre, community organizations and leaders organized a petition denouncing the massacre. Fr. Ignacio Blasco, SJ Pastor at La Nativiad, Fr. Mamfreudo Bautista, SJ, Associate Pastor, and Fr. Ricardo Falla, SJ, in-residence, all contributed their support to this peition. Learn more about the peition here.

The president of the 48 Cantones of Totonicapan gave her testimony about the massacre. Watch and listen below. (in Spanish). Click here to watch video interviews from survivors

Follow on-going twitter conversations about the massacre, click here