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Noise protest in Centro draws ugly backlash

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A noise protest generates backlash in Mérida’s Centro. Photo: Facebook

Mérida, Yucatán — Residents in the Centro Histórico denounced weekend vandalism aimed at the ongoing anti-noise protest.

At least three banners addressing excessive all-night music from various nightclubs, and adjacent facades, were spray painted with backwards swastikas and profanity.

Families living in the Centro have been in opposition to a handful of bars that have flouted noise regulations, which are now due to be tightened. The bars’ defenders say the establishments have given the Centro new vitality and allow musicians to hone their craft. Bars also create hundreds of jobs, they note.

And musicians are offended that their music is deemed “noise.”

But residents, many with small children, have lost sleep while partiers next door continue until 3 or 4 in the morning, often spilling into the street.

In an election year, the issue has become tainted with politics. A musicians’ union official has painted the conflict as being driven by foreigners trying to shape the Centro to their will.

But a press conference held solely by local residents and business owners informed reporters that you don’t have to be an expat to want to sleep after midnight.

And the local hotel industry has come out on the side of zoning so investors can safely put their money in bars or residential projects without fear of clashing with neighbors. The city’s lack of zoning allows a nightclub to share a wall with a toddler’s bedroom, which happened on Calle 47.

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