Saturday, August 30, 2008

Group treks across county in protest against border fence

El Paso Times
August 30, 2008

EL PASO -- More people are expected to join the march against the controversial U.S. fence being erected at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Friday afternoon, a group of about 30 people had departed Tornillo and was nearing the next destination, a Fabens church.

"Today (Friday) is a beautiful day. It's cooler and everyone is animated," said Javier Perez, who was greeted by vehicles honking and passers-by shouting approval. "Yesterday, it was 100 degrees, very hot. We expect to reach El Paso by Sunday."

The march, which began in Fort Hancock, will end Sunday with a binational ceremony at the Sunland Park-Anapra fence line.

Perez, a march coordinator, said others were waiting until the end of the workweek to join the marchers.

"I'm 26 and probably the youngest person marching right now. We had an 85-year-old man join us when we started at Fort Hancock," Perez said. "We expect a much bigger crowd beginning this evening."

Carlos Marentes, another marcher and director of the Border Farm Workers Center in El Paso, said the marchers had walked about 20 miles since they began Thursday morning.

"We're going to spend the night at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Fabens and continue with the march Saturday morning," he said. "The only problem we've had up to now is the mosquitoes besieging us."

Mary Gates, a teacher at El Paso Community College, is unable to join the trek on foot, "but I plan to go to all the stopping places."

Gates said she was inspired by Wednesday's opening ceremony to launch the March for Peace and Unity.

Border Patrol officials in El Paso said construction of the border security fence is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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