Guatemalans March Against Domestic Violence (The Guardian)

Around 12,000 people climbed an inactive volcano near the capital, Guatemala City, this week to protest against domestic violence in the country.Groups of people gathered in the village of Santa María de Jesús, about 50km south-west of Guatemala City to begin the five-hour ascent to the peak of Volcán de Agua (Water Volcano).

Participants scaled various heights of the 3,765m volcano to promote the campaign Rompe el Ciclo (Break the Cycle).

Volcán de Agua has been dormant since the mid-16th century, but continues to dominate the local landscape. The trail to its summit consists of a forest, coffee crops and solidified lava.

Guatemalans of all ages turned up to show their support for the movement – including disabled people.

Participants formed an 11.5km human chain – one of the longest ever worldwide – from the foothills of Volcán de Agua to the summit.

Participants gathered inside the crater on a giant heart banner and shouted: ‘No to violence’.

An estimated 700 women are murdered each year in Guatemala, and prosecutors receive more than 65,000 complaints of domestic violence annually.Guatemala’s new president, Otto Pérez Molina, arrived at the rally by helicopter. He promised to continue fighting against crime and violence in Guatemala, which has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America.

Lorena Rizza de Flores climbed part of the volcano with her husband and their two young children.‘We decided to take part in the event because we don’t want any more violence in Guatemala,’ she said.

The view from the summit.


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