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TEOTIHUACAN, Mexico - Residents of Teotihuacan, a major archeological site outside Mexico City, are protesting the construction of a Wal-Mart store on the edge of the ruins.
The warehouse-style Bodega Aurrera, a unit of Wal-Mart in Mexico, is due to open in December, according to published reports. The project has local and state approval, and construction is well under way.
Opponents, who say it will ruin a way of life that dates back centuries, have taken legal action to stop it. They have filed a criminal complaint, charging authorities with acting illegally in approving the project. They filed a civil complaint on the same grounds and asked the nation's rights ombudsman to step in.
"What they are doing in Teotihuacan is destroying Mexico's deepest roots for short-term interests like lower prices," said one protester outside Teotihuacan's town hall, according to a Reuters report. "This is the flag of conquest by global interests, the symbol of the destruction of our culture."
The Teotihuacan construction site lies less than a mile from the gated tourist park housing the main ruins and is visible from atop the Pyramid of the Sun that has defined the skyline for 2,000 years.
No one knows for sure who founded the ancient seat of power and then abandoned it around 600 A.D. The Aztecs later came upon it and named it Teotihuacan (The Place Where Men Become Gods).