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Battle lines drawn at Punta Tortugas between Progreseños and environmentalists

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Profepa has marked off some beach for sea turtles, but some local residents object. Photo: Diario de Yucatán

Progreso, Yucatán — Locals claim they are being blocked from their own beaches under the pretext of protecting turtles that do not exist.

Nearly three weeks ago, Profepa — the federal environmental protection agency — placed signs and barriers around west-side beachfront designated as Punta Tortugas to protect nesting sea turtles. Punta Tortugas residents, however, deny that turtles nest there.

“If you are a Progreseño since birth, you should know that the turtle does not reach the west side of our beaches. The problem is that access has been closed to us Progreseño, cars, motorcycles, horses, bicycles and runners,” reads an announcement on social media.

Locals object to being blocked from running, riding and bicycling where they historically enjoyed access. A protest announced on social media will pursue “peacefully recovering the beaches that belong to the Progreseños” on Friday at the beach and Calle 116.

Punta Tortuga, popularly known as “El Playón,” runs from Calle 104 to 136. It was inaugurated in February as a sea turtle refuge.

The ceremony was attended by local residents, personalities and a candidate for the state legislature.

During the event, volunteers collected garbage and planted palm trees along paths that previously allowed motorcycles and other motorized transport.

Source: Punto Medio

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