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Guatemalan president pledges not to use army to quell protests, blockades, land seizures

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is pledging not to use troops to quell protests, blockades or land takeovers, following criticism over a clash in which eight people were killed and 34 injured.

The bloodshed happened last week when soldiers, police and security guards tried to break up a highway blockade in western Guatemala.

The largely Indian demonstrators blocked the highway to protest high power rates and constitutional changes.

A confrontation ensued, and some of the soldiers and police opened fire.

Presidential spokesman Francisco Cuevas said Wednesday that new security protocols will be announced and that under the new guidelines soldiers will no longer be sent to such protests.