Protesters, Police Clash at Mexican Maya site

The tiny ruins at Chinkultik are located not far from the Mexican border with Guatemala, and are mostly visited by ruins buffs headed north from Guatemela to Palenque. Although archaeologists consider Chinkultik important, it is not anywhere near as spectacular as Tikal, Chichen Itza or the other major Mayan sites. This week, however, they’ve become the focus of international attention. On September 7, local Indian groups forcefully took over the site, kicking out park officials. They claimed that the entry fees were too high (and therefore driving off tourists from the region) and that an insufficient percent of the proceeds were going to local projects. They took over the ticket booth, lowered the fees, and allowed archaeologists to remain and work. Late last week, local police removed the navites, and things got ugly. Four or six (reports differ) locals were killed, and numerous others were injured. An investigation is proceeding, but visitors to Chiapas may want to head directly to Palenque to get their ruins fix for the time being.

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