By Joshua Tree & Stormy Sta
COP16 Indy Media Center, Mobile Broadcast News
December 3, 2010
A Caravan consisting of more than 400 members from the State of Chiapas belonging to the National Social Justice Movement, La Otra Campaigna, was prevented from entering the sacred Mayan pyramids of Chichen Itza, declared one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight.
La Otra Campaigna attempted to hold Mayan prayer ceremonies in the temples of their ancestors with members of several Indigenous nations from multiple countries including Canada, Guatemala and the United States Friday night.
The caravan was denied entry into the park when they arrived at 6pm on Dec. 3 due to a nightly tourist light show that was being set up.
As an expression of religious freedom Caravan members did not pay what would have been a collective entrance fee of at least $1,400 Dollars or four $USD per person to enter their religious site.
The Caravan, including several buses and more than a dozen smaller vehicles, was only permitted to enter long enough to make a U-turn and file out.
The Caravan then traveled a short distance to the town of Piste. Locals in the town had planned to hold the second night of a carnival with music, dancing and a Bull Fight in the town Zocolo when the Caravan arrived.
But the Piste carnival was delayed for an hour as the Caravan’s vehicles circled the Zocolo. Young guitarists played while banners were rapidly painted denouncing their exclusion from Chichen Itza.
Many hoisted their printed black and red flags, which read “National Liberation Movement,” an initiative spanning the country prompted by self-governing Zapatista communities.
Speakers from Indigenous Nations rallied the crowd, performed a spiritual ceremony and sang.
The Caravan continued towards Cancun to take part in a convergence of approximately 10,000 other Caravan riders arriving Friday and Saturday from across Central and South America. They plan to take part in more than a week of protest actions to counter the conferences surrounding the COP16.
Otra Campaigna Caravan drivers concurred that they were pulled over by the Federal Police more than a dozen times and had their luggage searched during their two-day drive to Cancun.
15,000 Federal Police now occupy the city, with many security checkpoints. Maritime activity has been suspended for approximately15 kilometers out to sea around Cancun, costing local fishermen dearly.
At the Cancun City limits Federal Police vehicles began to tightly follow the Caravan, with vehicles in front, behind and in the parallel lane. The Caravan successfully continued to a convergence center prepared for them in Cancun’s city center.
Link to La Via Campesina:
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