Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Emergency Protest Action

at the Mexican Embassy
Friday, 12th May, 12.30pm,
corner of Willis St and Lambton Quay, Wellington

A strong presence is felt outside the Mexican Embassy

While inside we sought answers from Embassy Official Enrique Franco

Thanks to all those who turned out in solidarity with the Zapatistas and the FPDT. The effort that went into placards, flowers and dress ensured the public and Embassy officials were well aware of the cause. Thanks also to the Embassy Officials who took the time to listen to our concerns, forward our correspondence to the Mexican government and promised to make the information at their disposal available to the Committee. If only it was that easy for the Zapatistas to secure dialogue with Mexican officials!


STOP police brutality in Texcoco and Atenco!
:: Solidarity with the Zapatistas and the Other Campaign!
:: Freedom for all political prisoners!
:: ¡Pare la brutalidad del policía en Texcoco y Atenco!
:: ¡Solidaridad con los Zapatistas y la Otra Campaña!
:: ¡Libertad para todos los presos políticos!

On Wednesday morning, 3rd May, flower vendors from People in Defense of the Land Front (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra) occupying a space in the Texcoco market were brutally repressed by state police. While defending their space in the market in Mexico state, a 14 year-old boy died and hundreds of people were arrested. 217 prisoners began a hunger strike in central Mexico Friday protesting the conditions of their arrests and their treatment at the hands of local police. Reports have been filtering out from jail of rape, physical and mental abuse experienced by people who were arrested for their involvement in the defense of Texcoco and Atenco.

This happened a few days after the Zapatista initiated 'Other Campaign' visited the area. The EZLN (National Zapatista Army of Liberation) subsequently issued a new Red Alert for the autonomous communities in Chiapas.

"The municipal president wants to evict these people because he thinks their market leaves the area dirty and he wants to put a commercial center, a Wal-mart in Texcoco," Subcommandante Marcos of the EZLN (National Zapatista Army of Liberation) said before thousands of people during a public rally in Tlatelolco.

The peasant flower vendors have been resisting eviction for weeks. The area they use has been eyed by local authorities for a new commercial center. As part of the People in Defense of the Land, the flower vendors have been joined by people in struggle from Atenco, a municipal adjacent to Texcoco. In 2002, the people of Atenco successfully resisted the construction of a national airport on their land with machetes and popular organization.

America del Valle a member of People in Defense of the Land spoke before the crowd. "The reason of this aggression is something that they repeat every day; it is for the crime of reclaiming one piece of land to sell products that we produce from our land: nopales, verduras, flowers," she said.

She announced the demands of the movement: liberation of arrested individuals and return of the market space.

Marcos called for regional coordinators throughout the country of Mexico to organize themselves in solidarity with Texcoco.

"We will see who is really with la Otra [The other campaign]. Here we will see if this is true of la Otra; if it is not only speeches but if its solidarity and urgent action."

Marcos announced meetings after the rally to coordinate actions for Thursday, which will begin at 8 a.m. He also announced a new red alert, closure of Zapatista caracoles and suspension of activities in La Otra Campaña, which is wrapping up its tour in Mexico City.

"The Zapatistas are, today, Texcoco. We are going to be alert to their demands. Closure of streets, highways, flyering, painting, protests. We respect their decisions, we will arrive to where they tell us to go," Marcos said.

More information:

English language coverage on IMC Mexico:

San Diego IMC:


Audio from Marcos (Delegate Zero) in Atenco:

Further info on Atenco from BBC MUNDO:

Mexico/Atenco: Reports of Sexual Abuse Surface

An organisation that safeguards human rights in Mexico denounced alleged violations of the human rights of women detained during the protests in San Salvador Atenco the last week.

Mujeres en Atenco
Women protest in front of the jail where their comrades are detained
The report of the National Committee of Human rights (CNDH), a
governmental agency, indicate that seven detainees have been violated
and a further 16 underwent sexual abuses.

According to the report of the CNDH, the women they claim that ''they
were ordered to lift their dresses above their waists, and in the trucks
in which they were transferred from Atenco to the penitentiary of
Santiaguito, the police sexually abused them, in some cases with
foreign objects. Others were forced to perform oral sex .''

The abuse occured when the women and another group of people were detained during a violent protest that began when police evicted a group
of flower vendors.

BBC correspondent in Atenco, James Hidier, reported that these denunciations have generated the fear that such violence may be repeated before the upcoming elections.

Foreign testimony

Three of the women who were supposedly subjected to abuses are foreign.

Valentina Palma, a Chilean studying cinematography in Mexico, said to local newspaper La Jornada that she was robbed of her possessions and assaulted by the police.

“They insulted me, man-handled me, did everything to me,” she indicated.

“When they locked me up, I saw girls crying with clothes and underwear dishevelled,” she added.

Negation by the police

The head of the regional police denies the accusations.

Wilfredo Robledo, responded to local media that the allegations levelled are part of a campaign by the lawyers of the prisoners to keep the security forces in disrepute .

On the other hand, Emanuel Avila, spokesman of the Department of the Interior of the state of Mexico (where is Atenco located), indicated that “none of the prisoners, who were violated supposedly, have lodged a formal complaint or has allowed themselves to be examined by doctors.”

Hundreds of police took the town after several local farmers, with machetes, kidnapped and attacked several agents who had detained the flower vendors.

An adolescent died in the incident and many were wounded, including 50 police.

The images of the security forces attacking the demonstrators generated a strong public backlash in the country.

For the original article in Spanish see:


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