Guatemala Volcano Climb In Protest Of Domestic Violence

A human chain of 12,000 people scaling a volcano is certainly one way to create awareness.

According to the BBC, thousands of people climbed Guatemala's Volcán de Agua on Jan. 21 in protest of domestic violence, making what they hope is the world's largest human chain. Prensa Libre notes that the volcano towers more than 12,300 feet above sea level (3,765 meters), and when marchers reached the inactive crater, they laid down a giant blanket with the symbol of a heart and formed a line of people that spelled out "2012."

MSNBC reports that the event wasn't just protesters alone, either; new Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina participated in the "Walk for Life." He and Vice President Roxana Baldetti dropped in by helicopter, bringing a Guatemalan flag to the crater and promising to continue fighting crime in the violence-riddled country, according to Agence France Presse.

The BBC notes that British ambassador Julie Chappell was there as well, with the embassy helping fund and organize the march.

"We're trying to get young leaders to start a generational change in attitudes where people say," Chappell told the BBC. "Until now we've sort of accepted that there is this culture of violence, but no more."

AFP reports that an estimated 700 women are murdered in Guatemala every year, with more than 65,000 domestic violence claims among a population of 13 million. According to a recent study by the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal (Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice), Guatemala City is the 12th-most violent city in the world, with a rate of 75 murders per 100,000 residents.