Discuss as:

Guatemalans grieve deaths of six after protests

Moises Castillo / AP

Pallbearers carry the coffin of a victim who died in clashes with security forces, through the town square of Totonicapan, Guatemala, Oct. 5, 2012.

Associated Press reports — Thousands of grieving indigenous Guatemalans shouted in anger Friday, some of them hurling themselves at the coffins of six local people slain when gunfire erupted during a protest over electrical power prices and educational reform in a poor rural area west of the capital.

The Guatemala government said protesters were blockading a highway near the town of Totonicapan, about 90 miles west of Guatemala City, when unidentified people opened fire from the back of a truck with civilian license plates, killing six people and wounding 34. Local activists accused soldiers and police of opening fire on the protesters.

The six victims were buried Friday afternoon in Totonicapan, where thousands gathered to watch their coffins pass through the town’s central square. Hundreds shouted “Justice! Justice!” while dozens of mourners from the Cakchiquel hurled themselves toward the coffins in grief.

Thursday’s protest was fueled by anger at President Otto Perez Molina, who has proposed constitutional reforms that he says will modernize Guatemala’s economic and regulatory systems.

See more images of Guatemala on PhotoBlog

Moises Castillo / AP

Relatives mourn in front of the casket holding Francisco Ordonez during a mass funeral service in Totonicapan, Guatemala, Oct. 5, 2012. Ordonez is one of at least six people slain when gunfire erupted Thursday during a protest over electrical power prices and educational reform in a poor rural area west of the capital.

Saul Martínez / EPA

A man photographs a burned truck after the clashes where six peasants were killed on Thursday, when soldiers and police suppressed a peaceful demonstration in Totonicapan, Guatemala, Oct. 5.

Sign up for the NBCNews.com Photos Newsletter