Thousands of people marched September 2 in defense of life and family in the capital of Guatemala, protesting legislation that would incorporate gender ideology and legal abortion into the country’s laws.

The “Great Guatemala National March for Life and the Family” was organized by the “Let's Transform Guatemala” (Transformemos Guate) citizens' movement to promote “full respect for the right to life and the express prohibition of abortion in any of its forms throughout the entire territory of the Republic of Guatemala.”

The organization also called for “maintaining in the law the original design of the family on the legal basis of marriage between one man and one woman to live together, have children, nourish and educate them and help one another.”

Sunday’s march was held in opposition to Bill 5376, which would legalize abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy for victims of rape. However, Let's Transform Guatemala warned that the legislation treats abortion as the ultimate answer, without providing “a real solution so that violence, sexual exploitation and human trafficking may be eradicated.”

Tens of thousands from across the country attended the march, including Catholic, Evangelical, and Jewish leaders. Representing the Catholic Church was Archbishop Raúl Martínez, apostolic administrator of Santiago de Guatemala.

Starting at 2:00 p.m., citizens from all over the country, wearing blue clothing and holding pro-life banners, marched from Plaza Italia down Paseo de la Sexta, arriving at Constitution Plaza where a stage had been set up.

In a September 3 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language sister agency, Aída Lorenzo de Juárez, who leads the archdiocese's pro-life ministry in Guatemala, said organizers were impressed with the turnout.

“We had only one route into Constitution Plaza which filled up with people, but more people kept coming so that in the end, the first crowd had to overflow into two other parallel routes to make way for a second crowd filling up the plaza because there was no more room left,” Lorenzo said.

“Guatemala made history. The plaza has never been filled up like that before. The people of Guatemala joined the cause, very peaceful, filled with love and joy. It was really a civic festival,” she said.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.