Mayans in Guatemala demand an end to promotion of doomsday myth
Guatemala's Mayan people accused the government and tour groups of cynically perpetuating the myth that their calendar foresees the end of the world.
"We are speaking out against deceit, lies and twisting of the truth, and turning us into folklore-for-profit. They are not telling the truth about time cycles," said Felipe Gomez, leader of the Maya alliance Oxlajuj Ajpop.
Several films and documentaries have promoted the idea that the ancient Mayan calendar predicts that doomsday is less than two months away, on December 21, 2012.
The Culture Ministry is hosting a big event in Guatemala City - which as many as 90,000 people are expected to attend - just in case the world actually does end, while tour groups are promoting doomsday-themed getaways.
Gomez urged the Tourism Institute to rethink the doomsday celebration, which he criticised as a show that was disrespectful to Mayan culture.
Experts say that for the Maya, all that ends in 2012 is one of their calendar cycles, not the world.
Gomez's group said the new Maya time cycle simply "means there will be big changes on the personal, family and community level, so that there is harmony and balance between mankind and nature".