Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Aftermath of the violence in Panajachel.

These were the scenes in Panajachel, Guatemala after Sunday's dramatic events.
Four thieves were apprehended in the market. They had been either robbing people or extorting money.
There were three women and one man. The man was beaten to death by a mob of people.
The three women were also beaten but rescued by the police and taken to the station.
The roads were blocked into Panajachel by cars or trees blocking the road. The mob did not want the three women to be taken out of town . They wanted to apply their own justice.

The chief of Police was negotiating with the mob to have five women come into the station and mete out "Maya Justice" to the women, which would have entailed cutting off their hair and probably have their crawl on their knees for a long distance. But then someone threw a huge firework into the crowd causing a huge bang and scaring the crowd. Then chaos broke out, people started throwing stones at the police, the police responded by throwing tear gas.
The Police station is near the market . Sunday was market day so there were lots of women and children in the market area. One of the Bomberos ( First responders ) told me that he was trying to rescue children from the market, they were crying , scared and in pain with their eyes from the tear gas. The Bomberos did not have gas masks so they had to do this work while they were also suffering the effects of the gassing.
They were very busy the rest of the afternoon trying to treat people who had been affected by the gas.
Eventually, a military helicopter came in late afternoon and sometime during the evening managed to get the three women, one who was three months pregnant out of town and take them into the city.

The situation here is now calm. This was a very unusual event to happen in Panajachel.
Tourists were never in danger and we hope that this ugly event will not stop tourists from coming to Panajachel. Normally, this is a very quiet , peaceful town.

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