Tourists caught in the middle of local dispute

Akumal, Q.R. – Some tourists found themselves caught in the middle of a local dispute between residents of Akumal and the Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA) — Akumal Ecological Center.

Local residents had taken to a piece of public road that allows access to Akumal Bay, a popular free public swimming and snorkeling area with locals and tourists. Residents of the area barricaded the road, blocking access to the bay. This road blockage also caused problems for tourists trying to leave the area.

The dispute, which has been ongoing since December, continues over a piece of road that the CEA says is private property but protestors say is part of a public street. There is an access road open to the beach with a large sign posted on the side of a van states “Entrada libre a pobladores de Akumal” – Free entry to the people of Akumal.

On Thursday morning, area residents found that a large fence, nearly 30-meters in length, had been erected by the CEA during the night. Protestors have since removed their blockades, but say they will continue their fight in court. Since the dispute involves federal property, local authorities have been reluctant to get involved.

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