Yesterday the organizations defending Casco Viejo held a press conference to make several pronouncements regarding the project and announce the initiation of new legal claims.
Someone, we suspect the government and/or Odebrecht, organized dozens of people to surround the building and try to interrupt the conference. This is not the first time they have done this in an attempt to show that the "people" support the project. It has long been speculated that people are paid to attend these kinds of demonstrations, but yesterday was the first day that the local news was able to directly record on video proof (see videos below of conference and the events afterword).
Those interruptions will only serve to help disseminate the points made by the groups at the conference, which were:
1. Recalling the recent tragic destruction of sites in Timbuktu, Syria and Afghanistan, the groups called on UNESCO to use its voice while there is still time to help protect Casco Viejo from being permanently disfigured. The groups called for an extraordinary meeting of the World Heritage Committee, citing their concern that the government's plan is to advance the project so far that it cannot be stopped by next year's regular UNESCO meeting.
2. Announcing a lawsuit based on failure to take into consideration the environmental impacts of the project asking for the enjoyment of the project pending further study.
3. Demanding explanations from specific government officials and a detailed explanation for the project's cost (double per kilometer the cost of Panama's new subway) and disclosure of the studies that purportedly show that the other alternatives are not viable.
4. Clarifying that the change from the original tunnel plan to the destructive seafront route was made at the suggestion of the contractor, and requesting that the CEO of Construtora Norberto Odebrecht take a personal involvement in the project to assure that it does not lead to the disfigurement of a world heritage site.
We will continue to drive on these points in the coming weeks and keep you informed.