Authorities in Cancun are to introduce new measures to prevent protesters from shutting down streets and affecting the city’s tightly packed hotel zone. The announcement was made after a protest last week left many tourists stranded and unable to catch their flights, causing economic losses for hotels and airlines. Cancun’s hotel zone is home to the vast majority of the city’s large resorts and is vital for the region’s booming economy.
Local and state officials met up this week to devise a new strategy to protect Cancun’s busy hotel district from disruptive protests. The meeting, led by Jorge Aguilar Osorio, the city hall’s secretary general, comes on the heels of a protest last week over authorities’ inaction concerning the growing number of disappearances in the Mexican Caribbean.
Under the new guidelines, authorities will work closely with activist groups and protesters to defuse potentially conflictual situations. The goal is to prevent protests from boiling up and causing chaos in the hotel district’s busy streets, which are already suffering from traffic build-up and record numbers of tourists.
Although authorities have stressed the importance of free speech and political rights, they are concerned about protesters blocking streets and shutting down businesses. This is especially true for Cancun’s densely populated hotel zone, where the vast majority of international visitors spend their holiday in the Mexican Caribbean.
In a recent radio interview, Jorge Aguilar stated that Cancun’s government is committed to protecting the city’s hotel district from protests and blockades. “Protesters cannot exceed certain limits, and we will not allow these kinds of situations to happen,” the official was quoted as saying.
Earlier last week, a massive 9-hour protest took place in the heart of Cancun’s hotel district when hundreds of people congregated in the area to demand a high-level negotiation with Mara Lezama, the state governor. In doing so, protestors blocked traffic and prevented hotel employees from reaching their workplaces. Protesters also demanded that the state’s general attorney, Oscar Montes de Oca, step down.
As a result, hundreds of travelers missed their departures, and many more experienced significant delays. Overall, economic losses amounted to several hundred million Mexican pesos, according to local business representatives. Moreover, officials say Cancun’s reputation may have taken a serious hit among visitors, who flocked to the area for tropical beaches and peace of mind.
Meanwhile, protesters are continuing to demand more action from the state government, and more mass protests might be on the horizon. Now, the government is intent on defusing the situation as Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean head into the busy winter season.
Activists have said they are willing to strike for as long as needed until their demands are met. For their part, officials will work to protect hotels and resorts from suffering any type of material damage, as protests can quickly turn sour or even violent. Law enforcement agencies, from the municipal to state level, will also work closely to ensure legal order and social harmony.
Rising crime rates and a rather high number of people gone missing this year have made the headlines several times this year. The issue, which has troubled the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo for years already, is a major concern to authorities. With Cancun being ranked the second-most popular destination globally, officials are determined to keep travelers safe.
Last week, state officials announced that 200 marines from the Mexican Navy would be deployed shortly to tourist hotspots across the region to prevent crime. It follows another similar announcement made earlier this year, and this summer, up to 4000 law enforcement personnel were deployed in the Mexican Caribbean to keep tourists safe.
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