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Guatemalan Squatters Removed Again

November 26, 2004

GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) – Morethan 2,000 campesinos occupying a privatefarm along Guatemala’s southerncoast were removed by police Mondaywithout a repeat of the violence that, in asimilar incident in August, resulted in thedeaths of several people.Agriculture Minister Alvaro Aguilarsaid the farm workers left the NuevaLinda property of their own volition,without the need for police intervention.But opposition legislator Alfredo deLeón, who was on the scene at the time,reported that the campesinos had beenremoved by 20 private security guardsworking for the property owner.De León, a member of the committeeset up to negotiate with the farm workers,said the guards fired their guns in the air,but “luckily no one was killed or injured.”The campesinos had occupied theproperty for a second time since Oct. 28to demand the government pay compensationfor the death of seven of their comradeson Aug. 31, when they wereremoved for the first time. Four membersof the National Police also died in theviolence.Aguilar said the government plans topay $2,570 in compensation to the familyof each of the victims.

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