Guatemalan protests over Progreso cement plant

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Guatemala: Local press has indicated that Guatemalan residents are protesting against local cement manufacturer Cementos Progreso's plans to build a cement factory in San Juan Sacatepéquez, 30km north west of Guatemala City. Members of 12 local communities claim that they were not consulted prior to works commencing and they say that the cement plant will contaminate the local environment.

The cement factory will be built in the area to serve construction of a 24km highway known as the 'Anillo Regional' that will connect the departments of Guatemala, Quiché, Baja Verapaz and Chimaltenango. The highway is expected to cost US$19.2m and works are being carried out under a public-private partnership, in which Cementos Progreso is participating.

The Guatemalan president Otto Pérez inaugurated the start of construction works in May 2013 and defended the project, saying that it would bring development to the area, according to a presidential statement. "I want to ask the local population, which will benefit from the project, to help us and collaborate," said Pérez. The president also characterised claims that the highway will damage the environment, affect local farming and reduce water resources in the area as 'lies.'

Last modified on 17 July 2013

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