Indian protesters block famed ruins of Copan in Honduras

About 1,500 Indian protesters kept tourists away from one of Honduras' most famed tourist sites, the Mayan ruins of Copan, in a demand for land on Monday.

"We believe that the government will try to remove us by force, but we will wait here no mater what the authorities decide," said Maria Interiano of the National Indian Council.

The Chorti Indian protesters took over the site on Saturday to pressure the government to comply with a 1997 promise to give them 14,000 hectares (54 square miles) of land in the western provinces of Copan and Ocotepeque.

The protesters had forced closure of the ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is visited by about 400,000 tourists each year.

Copan flourished for hundreds of years until it was abandoned in about the 10th century. The Chortis, who number about 500,000, are believed to be descendants of the ancient Maya.

The government said it would send a commission to negotiate with the demonstrators, AP reported.

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