San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Thousands decry violence at Guatemala volcano demo

About 12,000 Guatemalans linked hands Saturday on a giant heart banner on the slopes of a volcano crater to draw attention to the scourge of domestic violence.

New President Otto Pérez Molina, a right-wing general who took office last Saturday, arrived on the scene by helicopter and handed a Guatemalan flag to the movement’s leader.

Mostly young Guatemalans organized the “climb for life,” and called on supporters who took part to form a giant human 2012, with the goal of making this year the year that domestic violence stops.

An estimated 700 women are murdered each year in Guatemala, and prosecutors receive more than 65,000 complaints of domestic violence a year in the Central American nation of 13 million.

The climb was held at the Volcan del Agua, an inactive, 3,774-meter colossus that towers over the colonial city of Antigua, 75 kilometers southeast of Guatemala City.

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