Guatemala: Largest Protests Yet in Assassination and Corruption Scandal, Web-televised and Twittered from Streets


(Photo: prensalibre.com/Hugo Navarro)

* "¡Esta revolución será tuiteada!," they're saying -- "This revolution will be tweeted." Massive demonstrations are taking place in Guatemala today, organized, amplified, and documented by social media networks -- namely, Ustream, Twitter, and Facebook.

* The independent Guatemalan online media organization Libertopolis is streaming live video of the massive pro- and anti-government demonstrations taking place in Guatemala. The Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre also has a live video stream (both on Ustream.tv). All of this media is in Spanish.

* Twitter is exploding with on-the-scene reports. As of 9am PT, some 5,000 10am PT, 50,000 people gathered in the Plaza Italia area of the capital (photo/via washwash, another here.) Most of the demonstrators wore white to symbolize peace.

* Where to find on-the-scene reports via twitter: El Periodico, Noticias Guatemala, Prensa Libre. Also, follow #escandalogt. Some Guatemalan twitterers were saying last night they planned to print out "V for Vendetta" masks and wear them en masse to the demonstrations today. Organizers on Twitter urged all who planned to participate to report anomalies or rights abuses by authorities, and observe cautionary guidelines to avoid violence.

* Online reports are coming in that governors, under duress from the state, have used public funds to ship busloads of primarily poor, indigenous citizens from the interior and north of the country to participate in government-planned pro-Colom demonstrations. Twitterers on the scene say the government-organized, pro-Colom demonstrations number about 2,500 participants as of 10am PT and include a patriotic musical performance.

* Last night, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala ruled that law enforcement must not take sides in today's demonstrations, and must preserve and uphold the citizens' right to free expression. Police in the capital are on "maximum alert" today.

* President Colom: "They don't know who they're messing with."

* Update, 1230pm PT: The demonstrations ended peacefully. Organizers collected approximately 30,000 signatures on-site, demanding Guatemalan president Álvaro Colom temporarily step down so that a judicial inquiry into his alleged involvement in the assassination of attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg may proceed without interference. Many who texted updates from the streets spoke of a moment during the anti-Colom demonstration when the entire crowd spontaneously sang Guatemala's national anthem in unison. "Over 50,000 people singing the anthem was epic," tweeted one participant.

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