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Dozens protest genocide denial in Guatemala

May 17, 2014

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Dozens of Guatemalan war survivors and human rights activists protested Friday against a congressional resolution that denies there was any attempt to commit genocide during the country’s bloody 36-year civil war.

The protesters lined the facade of the Congress building with black-and-white photographs of the civilians killed or gone missing during the conflict. They carried signs that read “There was genocide ... we ask for jail and justice,” and “No to forgetting by decree.”

Flor de Maria Calderon, whose niece disappeared during the civil war, says she is indignant by the resolution.

“Genocide won’t go away by denying it,” Calderon, 30, said. “Only by facing the facts and seeking justice can we solve this situation.”

The resolution was passed Tuesday with the support from 87 of the 158 legislators. It reads “It is legally impossible ... that genocide could have occurred in our country’s territory during the armed conflict.”

The resolution was proposed by Luis Fernando Perez, a legislator for the party founded by former dictator Efrain Rios Montt. Rios Montt was convicted of genocide for crimes during his 1982-83 regime, but a court later annulled the 80-year sentence for the massacre of thousands of Mayans and ordered his trial re-started.

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