by Corina Crawley and Blair Redlin (CUPE research staff)
An estimated 20,000 citizens flooded Mexico City’s streets Thursday in defence of public water and to protest water privatization.
Organised by the Mexican coalition C.O.M.D.A.(Mexican Coalition in Defence of Water Rights), the colourful demonstration sent a clear message that water is a human right. Protesters from throughout the country and around the world travelled to the capital for the march. Mexicans from indigenous and rural communities took part in large numbers and had a very visible presence.
The march began at the Independence Monument on the Paseo de Reforma and took several hours to reach the site of the 4th World Water Forum nearly seven kilometres away.
CUPE delegates waved their “CUPE - On the Front Line” flags proudly as they marched with other unionists from around the world behind the banner of Public Services International (PSI). Participants from a variety of global organizations such as Development and Peace, Friends of the Earth, Blue Planet Project and PSI marched as a united international contingent.
The march was peaceful, even though protesters were met by an extremely heavy police presence when they neared the site of the 4th World Water Forum. Near that site, the demonstration heard from a variety of speakers who condemned water privatization and insisted on quality, public water for all.
Earlier in the day, CUPE delegates joined Canadians from other organisations to plan for a meeting on Saturday with officials from the Canadian government delegation to the World Water Forum.