Martes, Nueve de Septiembre
Protesting certainly has a culture...and we often marvel at the manifestations of such culture here in Cancun. Today marked the first series of marches to the perimeter fence: one march of students/black blockers/internationals and another of campesinos. We attended the first. It was filled with potential, and we are eager for tomorrow, but interactions seemed to hint at the age old conflict between the "non-violent" and the "radical".
Orange vested know-it-alls (aka peace police) were there in abundance. A Mayan ritual (attended by the one and only Starhawk!) took place in the center of the traffic circle. Young, masked, punks rushed the fence (breaking it in places)and waved flags from the top of statues.
We heard the campesino march was bigger and more focused--which didn't surprise us. Of all the groups in Cancun, they seem to know exactly why they are here and exactly what their intentions are.
As is often the case in cities, the number of protesters is difficult to calculate. To the South, a large encampment of campesinos and students. To the North, a convergence space and indymedia center. And all over town, various parks filled with campers, locals, music and presentations. There is no doubt that the city is filled with merrymaking-malcontents gearing up for the start of WTO meetings tomorrow.
We journied into the hotel zone today to check out security. There is an outer fence and a series of inner fences. The complicated part is that it is approximately 4 miles from primary fence to convention center--and the path is flanked on one side by the ocean and a lagoon filled with crocodiles on the other.
When protesters are present, the outer fence closes and hundreds of riot cops appear. When the protesters leave, the fence is openned and commerce continues as usual.
Tomorrow will certainly be interesting. Rumor has it that people will attempt to breech the fence, what happens on the other side will remain to be seen.