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San Salvador Atenco Massacre Solidarity Protest

solidarity | 13.05.2006 00:04 | Repression | Social Struggles | Zapatista | London

Anti-capitalist activists, human rights campaigners individuals and groups, including London's Zapatista Action Project ( z.a.p. ), Bristol Solidarity group Kiptik and the Comite Cerezo support group in the U.K. demostrate at the Mexican Consulate in London. Closing it down for business.

(In San Salvador Atenco 60 flower vendors were prevented from making their living in preparation for a new WalMart. The townspeople came out in support of the flower vendors and in the ensuing struggle, the police and army descended upon the city unleashing a force of violence and repression. Over 200 people have been imprisoned, many tortured during the military occupation of the town. Women were raped, many people disappeared and one fourteen year old boy was killed by a bullet in cold blood.)

Earlier today the Mexican Consulate in London was blockaded when four companer=s locked on to the entrance using metal arm tubes and D locks, supported by a number of other human rights activists and campaigners.

They arrived with a list of demands and hoped to speak to the Mexican Ambassador, Juan José Bremer de Martino. They wanted the ambassador to read the demands to an international news agency, then fax them to the Mexican Government and receive some reply.

Police arrived very quickly, en mass, and at first didn't know what to do. They cordoned off the area around the Consulate which effectively shut it down, later threatening those not locked down with arrest for causing an obstruction.

A Samba band played throughout the demonstration, drawing attention to attract passer-by’s.

As negotiations began, the police at temped to find out who the leaders were, and wanted things resolved quickly. We attempted to describe the nature of non hierarchical organisation and consensus and took our time to get things done right.

The demands on both sides changed over time. The police originally stated that if we moved no-one would be arrested, later saying that no matter what, those locked on would be arrested. In the end they flip flopped once again to their original statement, that those locked on would not be arrested if they unlocked themselves.

Towards the end of the negotiations, police officers with hydraulic bolt croppers appeared and attempted to look menacing, but unfortunately were unable to prove to us their manhood with large power tools, and resumed their normal daily routine of standing around and looking completely and utterly useless.

There were repeated requests for someone to sign, putting their name to the demands. At first no one was comfortable with the leadership this would imply. Later on it was collectively decided for one person to enter the consulate, hand the demands over to be sent to the Mexican government, and for those locked on to unlock without threat of arrest.

Towards the end, they offered us the opportunity to protest legally in their proposed cattle pen at the end of the road, fortunately no one liked the idea of protesting legally.

After blockading the consulate for almost all of its working day, and with the demands handed over to the government, the four locked on were released by key. The police took their details, searched them, and no arrests were made.

During the protest, one companera left the cordoned area and on attempting to rejoin the demonstration was prevented and told that she would be arrested if she re-entered.

Another officer shoved someone outside of the cordon, this was quickly noticed by the surrounding companer=s who came to her aid and successfully challenged the police officer, who walked off in a sulk.

Later a disgruntled police officer (badge U1952) was overheard asking another officer if he fancied a drumstick as a trophy, then quickly took a Sambista's drumstick. When asked for it back, he replied churlishly that she could have it back when she left.

A number of police officers and some passers by questioned the involvement of non-Mexicans, perhaps unfamiliar with the notion of solidarity or the idea of a global struggle. Why our nationality would be important when talking about children being murdered and people being raped, tortured, and disappeared is beyond us.

There is much concern over the lack of interest and information about the events in Atenco. One officer was somewhat incredulous about the events, asking that if this really happened, why hadn't he heard about it? Our news stations are filled with banal melodrama, the circus that with bread is supposed to keep us satisfied. Obviously when the Mexican government commits vile acts such as this they are not going to advertise it, and they will try to stop others from doing so. It is up to us to make sure those who are responsible come to justice