On Friday 12th May, several activists and human rights campaigners, including people from different groups such as the London Zapatista Action Project (z.a.p.), Bristol Solidarity group Kiptik and the Comite Cerezo support group in the U.K, staged a peaceful occupation and noise demonstration at the Mexican Embassy in London [Photos and Report]. Four people locked on in front of the Embassy, effectively closing it down for business for most of the day. Meanwhile a Samba band was playing whilst other activists held banners referring to the events that have been taking place in San Salvador de Atenco, northern Mexico [Press Release]. Another protest outside the Mexican embassy had already taken place on Wednesday 10th [Pics and Report]. The Electronic Disturbance Theater and the Borderlands Hacklab also called for a virtual strike against the Mexican Government on May 5th.
Last week, residents of Atenco, a municipality near Mexico City, suffered massive police brutality and repression, after local organisations helped 60 flower vendors of the Texcoco local market to resist a blockade by state police that prevented them from setting up their stands. People from Atenco quickly responded by obstructing the highway that borders their town and leads to Texcoco market. The events that followed speak of unprecedented levels of police brutality. More than 3000 armed police forces stormed the town beating everyone in their path [Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | Videos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4] and arrested more than 200 people after a house to house search around the town. Francisco Javier Cort�s, a 14 year old local boy, was killed as a result of police violence on the first day, and many were severely injured. Since then there have been reports that a total of up to 300 people were arrested (of which the authorities have only recognised 109), 18 people were disappeared, 5 women were raped whilst in custody, and 5 foreigners deported.
Reports in the IMC-UK newswire by: Global Exchange | The Other Campaign Montreal | Irene of Mexico City | Erika Del Carmen Fuchs from Mexico DF | Kasa de Kultura para Tod@s | Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group.
Follow the unfolding events in: Narconews Bulletin | IMC-Chiapas | IMC-Mexico | IMC-UK Zapatista Page
Radio webstream with daily reports (Sp): Ke-Huelga Radio Zapote
San Salvador de Atenco made the news across Mexico in 2002 after having resisted the forced displacement of their community to make way for a new Mexico City Airport [Video]. Villagers, mostly small farmers, formed the People's Front in Defense of Land (Frente del Pueblo en Defensa de La Tierra) an organisation that has subscribed the Zapatistas Sixth Declaration, and is actively participating in the The Other Campaign.
As a result of these recent events, the EZLN has temporarily suspended The Other Campaign proceedings, which was due to visit Atenco a few days after the first police attack, and it has put all its guerrilla troops on Red Alert. The Zapatistas (including Sub Marcos) that have been travelling the country meeting grass roots oganisations to "build an anti-capitalist movement from below and to the left in Mexico and beyond", have joined the protests in and around Atenco demanding the release of all those arrested [video] whilst stating that they will take part in these mobilisations for as long as it takes [Marcos' call to action]. They also announced that they will not re-estart their route across Mexico until the sitution is resolved.