Joe Zacune, 16 March: Today´s demo was the largest ever mass mobilization against the privatization water. Over 20,000 people turned up to protest against the corporate takeover- including indigenous groups, urban social movements, Zapatistas, anarchists, campesinos and other grassroots organizations. The Mexican presence and organisation was amazing. They came in their masses and were dancing, shouting, singing, playing drums for this massive four-hour rally. The World Water Council must be kicking themselves- they made a big mistake when they decided to hold the Forum in Mexico.
Most of it passed off peacefully but when I was standing on a wall taking photos of a few anarchists whacking police shields with batons, the police started firing some water with pepper gas. So I looked even more bleary-eyed after these sleep-deprived days. When one police car got smashed up, the paparazzi came out of nowhere on big bikes and took endless shots- no prizes for guessing which will be the main shot in tomorrows newspapers. We´re determined not to let the cynical press use these minor incidents to overshadow this historical event. The people have spoken with a deafening roar- our water is not for sale.
I held up flyers for our upcoming Coca-Cola rally at the demonstration and people literally swarmed to get them. The response has been amazing and we haven´t even held the event yet! It was great to see Coca-Cola is under fire at other side events and in today´s main newspaper wrote about how it´s taking over water resources in Chiapas. This is one of the issues we´ll be talking about on Saturday when War on Want brings together activists from Chiapas, Colombia and the US to talk on Coca-Cola´s social and environment abuses around the world.
The earlier part of the day was less exciting as I spent five hours queuing to get my pass for the inside of the forum. This would have taken longer but I struck up a conversation with some friendly, Norwegian activist types who let me skip most of the queue. The forum accidentally gave me a 7-day pass instead of 3-days which also sweetened the frustrating wait. The whole official World Water Forum seems completely disorganised.
The word is that the Ministerial Declaration is going to most likely be rejected by certain countries. There´s speculation that this could spell the end of the World Water Forum as consensus is needed for the declaration to be binding. I´m trying to find out as much as I can and I´ll be back with more news on this.