Thousands in Guatemala demand president, deputy resign

Thousands march in Guatemala City on April 25, 2015 to demand the resignation of President Otto Perez and Vice President Roxana Baldetti as a corruption scandal rocked the government (AFP Photo/Johan Ordonez)

Guatemala City (AFP) - Thousands marched in Guatemala to demand the resignation of President Otto Perez and Vice President Roxana Baldetti as a corruption scandal rocked the government.

Protesters gathered for the demonstration, which they dubbed "Give Up Already," banging pans and blowing whistles as they marched to the National Palace waving the Guatemalan flag.

"We do not want thieves to continue to rule us, to see us as toys, it is brazen what they do with the people of Guatemala," protester Maria Letona told AFP.

Prosecutors last week uncovered a customs bribery ring following an investigation by the UN International Commission Against Impunity, accusing top tax officials and an aide to the vice president, Juan Carlos Monzon, of involvement.

Monzon went off the radar while on an official trip in South Korea last week, and is thought to be hiding out in Honduras.

Protesters shouted "Out! Out! Out!" as they called on the president and his deputy to step down and demanded authorities to lay charges.

They held banners reading "I hate this government mafia" and "the people united will never be defeated" while some held puppets of Perez and Baldetti.

"This is a call to every politician and policymaker, look at us, the people of Guatemala are taking a stand because we don't want any more corruption," Catholic priest Armando Gonzalez told AFP, surrounded by nuns carrying white flags.

President Perez told reporters that he would not resign and said the investigation was supported by state prosecutors, calling for peaceful demonstrations.

"I appeal to the good sense of Guatemalans, everyone has the right to express themselves but they have to respect the authorities leading the investigation," Perez said.

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