GUATEMALA CITY – Tens of thousands of indigenous people took to the streets across Latin America on Monday to protest the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s 1492 discovery of the Americas.
Columbus Day is celebrated as the Day of Hispanic Heritage in Latin America, but protesters marked the holiday as a reminder of the atrocities Spanish conquistadors wrought on indigenous people throughout the region.
In Guatemala City, 19-year-old demonstrator Imer Boror was killed and two were wounded as Maya Indians blocked entry points into the capital to protest their government’s mining policies.
Protesters were marching on what they called the Day of Dignity and Resistance of the Indian People, protest leader Juana Mulul told AFP, saying the movement “is purely in defense of Mother Earth and our territory.”
In a gesture toward reconciliation with indigenous groups, a special roundtable appointed by President Alvaro Colom after the incident was to meet with 14 poor farmers late Monday to discuss their demands.