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Apocalypse? Poverty a bigger concern for modern Mayans

William Gularte / Reuters

Kekchi Aborigines from Coban protest a day before the Oxlajuj Baktun celebration at the Tikal Mayan ruins in Peten, Guatemala on Dec. 20, 2012.

Indigenous activists protested outside Guatemala's ancient ruins of Tikal on Thursday as members of the country's poverty-stricken Mayan communities sought to draw international attention to their plight ahead of festivities to mark the end of the Mayan calendar, Reuters reports.

According to the Friends of the Maya Foundation, the present-day Mayan population is around six million, with significant communities in El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. 

Luis Soto / AFP - Getty Images

Indigenous people take part in celebrations marking the end of the Mayan age at Iximche archaeological site in Tecpan municipality, Guatemala, on Dec. 20, 2012. Ceremonies are being held to celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle known as Bak'tun 13 and the start of the new Maya Era on December 21.

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