Guatemalans protest against authorities after teen shelter fire

Thousands of protesters in Guatemala have called for both the president and vice-president to step down after a fire at a youth shelter in which 40 girls died.

One protester's poster in Guatemala City featured pictures of President Jimmy Morales and vice-president Jafeth Cabrera and the slogan "those who are responsible should resign".

Others had stained the blue and white Guatemalan flag red to symbolise the tragedy, while some carried black flags in mourning.

Gathering outside President Morales' residence, they alleged negligence at the overcrowded government-run shelter, where staff have been accused of sexual and other abuse.

While it was intended to house 400 children, nearly twice that number lived there.

The fire broke out on Wednesday at the Assumption Safe Home in San Jose Pinula, which is just east of the capital.

The blaze, in the girls' living quarters, killed 19 immediately. Others later died of their burns - with one death announced on Sunday. Officials said all those who lost their lives were aged between 14 and 17.

More than a dozen remain in hospital.

It is believed the fire was set by girls protesting against conditions at the shelter.

It has been reported that the girls had been locked in a classroom at the walled facility after an escape attempt was made.

They apparently set mattresses on fire to try to get someone's attention.

An investigation has begun, while President Morales has sacked the director of the shelter, which has been closed temporarily.

Pope Francis has prayed for those killed and injured.

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