Breaking News: Cancun Bulletin: Suicide and Protests

By Hiroshi Kanno and Orin Langelle, 50 Years Is Enough
Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cancun, Mexico, 11 September--Yesterday thousands of people, the majority farmers, were joined by labor, indigenous people and students opposed to the WTO, marched toward the Cancun Convention Center and were stopped by police and barricades many kilometers from their destination. A South Korean farmer, Lee Kyoung Hae, 54 years old and father of two, committed
suicide while he was on top of one of the wire barricades.

Protesters overturned sections of the wire barricades and were then stopped by riot police. Some protesters threw debris at the police line. There were no arrests.

"The Mexican authorities are responsible for this (suicide)as they
prevented open dialogue to happen between farmers and the WTO delegates," said Walden Bello from Focus on the Global South outside of the Cancun General Hospital where Lee Kyoung Hae was pronounced dead. "Suicide rates among farmers are increasing globally and even in the U.S. This is a tragic example," he continued.

The mood was solemn in front of the hospital as supporters and press gathered for a press conference called by the South Korean contingent. Korean spokespeople said that while they were mournful and distraught, they are determined to continue the protest against the WTO.

Late last night, alarmed by reports that the Mexican government was going to deport the large South Korean group, many of the Korean protesters marched back to the police barricades and spent the night. They were joined by supporters, some volunteering as human shields.