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solidarity | 19.05.2006 08:33 | Repression | Social Struggles | Zapatista | London


Last week residents of San Salvador Atenco (Atenco), a municipality near Mexico City, suffered massive police brutality and repression after local organisations helped 60 flower vendors, at Texcoco local market in the State of Mexico, to resist a state police blockade for setting up their stands.

The use of government force to take control of the situation was excessive – 3,000 police stormed into Atenco on one day. At the time of writing it has been reported that more than 400 people have been detained (of which the authorities have only recognised 109), 18 people have been disappeared, 5 women have been raped and 5 foreigners have been deported. Police forces attacked hundreds of people leaving them hospitalised, maimed and gravely wounded. One person has been comatised due to a cranial fracture and a 14-year-old boy has been shot dead - both police actions.

Atenco is famous across Mexico for its successful resistance to the forced displacement of their community to make way for a new Airport in 2002. Villagers, mostly farmers, formed the People's Front in Defence of Land (Frente del Pueblo en Defensa de La Tierra, FPDT) and, wielding their machetes (their tools of work), became a symbol of popular protest in Mexico. The intent of last weeks brutal attack in Atenco, as has been reported by the Mexican Newspaper ‘La Jornada’ was to break the Atenco community and the FPDT, as they have become a powerful force for social justice across the country. This community has been fighting for self- governance and making headway. The scale of this recent attack suggests just how threatened the Government are by this community.

Last Friday, Zapatista Insurgent “Subcomandante Marcos” of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional, EZLN) urged civil society to take action to force the government to release all Atenco political prisoners. In Mexico, the USA, Italy, Spain, Greece and now the UK – over 15 countries, several groups and organisations have joined in solidarity with the people of Atenco to protest against this injustice.

We call a second demonstration before the Mexican Embassy in protest of this unjust attack and in solidarity with the people of Atenco. It will be held on Friday 19th May at 12.30pm, 16 St. George Street, Hanover Sq. London W1S 1LX.