These would be protesters. In the middle of the highway. And yes, those are tree branches they used to make noise. They were also banging empty water bottles on the ground, which again, was a major highway.
Traffic was backed up and our driver spoke no English.
Our driver was trying to explain what was going on but since I didn’t know the word for picketer, and we couldn’t see anything but massive traffic, it wasn’t until we actually passed the people to realize what was going on. (He also called someone that would translate, so that helped us figure it out too.)
At one point, our driver got annoyed we were in traffic so simply drove on the grass. Not the shoulder because there was none. The grass. And not just slowly cutting ahead of cars, literally pedal to the metal and OFF ROADING. The engine growled, grass was burning and we were flying past the traffic!
When our cab driver decided to rejoin the traffic we went right past cops who simply stood and watched.
As for what they were protesting, we got mixed answers. Our cab driver thought the picketing was because of land rights. The people at our hotel told us that the reason for picketing the day before was because of an airport union issue.
Who knows but it was nice to see there is freedom of speech.