Guatemalan shop owners march in support of president

Guatemala City (AFP) –


Thousands of shop owners in Guatemala City marched on Wednesday in support of President Jimmy Morales, who is accused of corruption for suspected illegal electoral campaign financing.

The demonstration saw the merchants from a popular city market blow plastic horns as they walked to the center of the capital.

"Here is a president who the people one day voted in, and we will never accept a few people coming with these intentions to try to remove him," one of the march's organizers told the crowd after being received by Morales.

The president, a former TV comedian, is facing two accusations of illegal financing in his 2015 election campaign because he did not report $2 million in spending by the conservative FCN-Nacion party that backed him.

Prosecutors and a UN-backed anti-corruption body working in Guatemala have called for Morales' presidential immunity to be lifted so he can be investigated.

Graft suspicions have also been leveled at the president's son and brother.

Addressing the demonstration, Morales said: "Today they want to say things, including in court, against my family, against me. Blessed be God as a great thinker once said, truth will set us free."

Some Guatemalan media reported that the organizers of Wednesday's march coerced merchants to take part or to face reprisals.