Thousands of Guatemalan Indians marched through the streets of the capital Tuesday to bring attention to their demands. They are demanding approval of a Comprehensive Rural Development Law by President Alvaro Colom and Congress. To draw attention to a law they have been requesting for several years that they believe would help alleviate some of the poverty in the countryside. The Indians staged sit-ins at Congress and on the Plaza de la Constitucion.
“They have no will. It’s something that doesn’t interest them,” Juan Tiney, the head of the National Indigenous and Peasant Coordinator, said. The Colom administration “is willing to attend to” the peasants’ demands, but it insists that to do that it needs resources it does not currently have. Guatemalan government figures estimate Indians comprise 42% of the overall countries population and 70% of them live in poverty.