23,000 mobilised in El Salvador on Oct. 12

by Erlinda Conrad, U.S.-El Salvador Sister Citie 1:40pm Mon Oct 14 '02

23,000 Salvadorans say "No!" to FTAA & PPP (Plan Puebla Panama. In coordination with actions held from Mexico City to San Jose, Costa Rica, 4 of El Salvador's principal borders and major highways and bridges shut down.

Monday 14, 2002
Sister Cities Friends,

National Mobilisation Hailed a Success! Estimated 23,000 mobilised

"Saturday's march was a huge success. Bigger and more powerful than we had predicted. Its one thing to have one march, its another thing to have 11 marches throughout the country. We think that this sent an important message to our government, to the other Central American governments, and to the U. S. that we are not going to stand back and let our countries, our pueblos be annexed to the U. S. This is just the first of many actions yet to come." - CRIPDES, National peasant organizer

This Saturday 23,000 Salvadorans mobilised to say "No!" to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and the PPP (Plan Puebla Panama) that threaten to destroy the sovereignty, the life, and the dignity of the Southern Mexico and Central American peoples. This march was part of a series of simultaneous actions and mobilisations under the banner "The Call of the Excluded" held from Mexico City to San Jose, Costa Rica.

In El Salvador different organisations of the Salvadoran social movement joined forces to block 4 of El Salvador's principal borders (El Amatillo, Las Chimanas, El Anguiatu, and El Poy) and major highways and bridges. While all of the points of blockade were met with police resistance, the mobilisations were carried out peacefully.

In synthesis:

  1. An estimated 5,000 people from the communities of Chalatenango, Cuscatlan and La Libertad blocked the Northern most border of El Poy in Chalatenango. The 45 buses and pick-ups were momentarily detained five miles outside of El Poy by National Police. In reaction to their detainment the 5,000 protesters filled the streets in an act of protest and were eventually let go because of their sheer numbers. On the other side of the border, representative organizations in Honduras were detained by Honduran Nation police three miles outside of El Poy. It is estimated that over 100 semi trucks were blocked passage into El Salvador because of the blockade.
  2. In las Delicias, the highway that runs past Los Chorros, 1,500 people, mostly from the urban communities gathered to block this important highway. The participants burned tires in protest. The national riot police were called out and helicopters flew over the point of protest. The blockade was lifted at 11:20 and in continuation 2500 people marched to the Social Security hospital in Santa Tecla in support of the national health care workers strike.
  3. In the Port of La Libertad, 500 people blocked the roads leading to Zacatecoluca (and the airport) and La Libertad.
  4. In Sonsonate 2,500 people blocked kilometro 5 (a major highway in the western part of the country) in Sonsonate. Later they marched to the Social Security Hospital in Sonsonate.
  5. The, "Golden Highway" o "La Carretera de Oro" in San Vicente was blocked by 500 people.
  6. In Texistepeque, 800 people marched on the Santa Ana highway. Later they protesters held a public meeting in front of Santa Ana Social Security Hospital in support of the national health care strike.
  7. In Amatillo, the eastern border of El Salvador, 3,000 people from El Salvador joined 800 protestors from Hondurans to temporarily shut down one of the most important borders for commerce.
  8. The Troncal del Norte, km 11, which leads north to Chalatenango was blocked for over an hour by 300 people from the Urban community movement.
  9. The "Golden Bridge" or the "Puente de oro" was blocked by 5,500 people who took both sides of the highway. After the blockade was lifted many of the participants headed to the Social Security Hospital in Usultan in support of the national health care strike.
  10. The Comalapa highway to the airport was closed by some 800 protesters.
  11. In the Chinamas border (to Guatemala) it was reported that tires were burned in protest and the border was closed until mid-day. We do not know numbers as of yet.

Hopefully, we will send you more updates on Saturdays activities later....

In Solidarity,

Erlinda Conrad
U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities
San Salvador office

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