UK Zapatista Feature Archive
Ever wondered just how indymedia started? or where it came from?
Free Event - Monday 5th May
As part of a season of events exploring the political and cultural legacies of 1968, this free Monday Love Special at the Roxy Bar & Screen will present the history of indymedia,
from the hills of Chiapas to Reclaim The Streets, Genoa and the G8
with guest attendant and Master of Ceremonies, MC Lee Harris, footsoulja of '68
Live music, DJ's and anarchy till 1am
The murder of two radio activists in Oaxaca has brought the repression suffered by indigenous Mexicans into sharp focus. Oaxaca has the biggest percentage of indigenous people who speak many different languages and suffering serious discrimination including the theft of their natural resources.
One such example is the village of San Isidro Aloapam who have been fighting the destruction of their local forest by commercial loggers who are bending the law to justify their activity. Attempts by the villagers to protect the forest have been met with extreme violence leaving many villagers injured and imprisoned. The village is represented politically by indigenous action group CIPO-RFM who have organized a series of media and international solidarity events to highlight the struggle. CIPO-RFM activists Miguel Cruz Moreno and Pedro Bautista Rojas were recently interviewed by IMC UK about the struggle.
There will be a prisoner support benefit gig in London on Wednesday April 16th.
Related links: IMC UK coverage of Oaxaca election 2007: ‘1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | IMC UK coverage of CIPO-RFM 2004/5: Intro | Assemblies | Protest camp | Raid | Repression | CIPO/Zapatistas feature | CIPO Speaking tour
"From 3:00 til about 8:30 everything was going well. Plenty of people had turned up, we had raised quite a bit of money and people were generally having a good time... At around nine, the police turned up. At first, we were only met with a couple of bobbies on the beat. They told us to turn the music down and that they didn't want to have to come back to tell us again. We complied with this order. A short while later they returned, this time they cited breach of the peace and noise complaints from local residents. At this point we were given no legal warning and shown no noise abatement order... At this point TSG arrived. The officer arriving on the scene demanded two spokespeople from the organisers to negotiate a de-escualtion of the situation. Two spokespeople were mandated and let outside of the property. The negotiation was a complete farce. The officer had no interest in an open dialogue, he ordered that the soundsystem be removed from the premises within ten minutes and when the spokespeople refused to give out their personal details repeatedly threatened them with arrest." See the full report for more details and photos.
Indymedia Oaxaca, the network in the UK of Zapatista solidarity groups along with anticapitalist collectives launch a tour of information and debate on the issues surrounding the people of Oaxaca's rebellion. The Tour will be visiting Birmingham on 16th May 16th, Liverpool on the 17th, Bradford on the 18th, Manchester on the 19th, Edinburgh on the 20th, Bristol on the 22nd, and finally in London's Rampart Social Centre on the 24th before jumping over to Europe. There will be films, talks and discussions with a guest from Indymedia Oaxaca.
The right to rebel is sacred, as exercising it is indispensable to break the obstacles that oppose the right to life. (Ricardo Flores Magon)
Our guest for the tour is a member of the Indymedia Oaxaca collective, and a free radio maker for the communities in the mountains north of the state. He is also a collaborator of Radio Jenpoj (Wind of Fire ). Playing the role that independent media does in the popular struggle in Oaxaca means living alongside a constant threat of targeted repression.
"We are on the eve of either a great uprising or a civil war," the EZLN's Delegate Zero stated recently, referring to the current situation in Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Whilst the 45,000km-long Other Campaign tour around "the forgotten corners of Mexico", which the Zapatistas started on 1 January, 2006, ends in Mexico City, the repression in Oaxaca is worsening by the day. And this is why the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) is now calling for a global wave of active solidarity with the people of Oaxaca, to culminate with a "worldwide day of action" on 22 December to "say and to demonstrate that the people of Oaxaca are not alone" [Full communique | Words from Delegate Zero | APPO's response]. Closer to home, the Network of UK Zapatista Solidarity Groups called for a national week of solidarity actions from the 9 to the 17 of December, 2006.
Meanwhile, the popular uprising continues in and around Oaxaca city, and so do the illegal detentions of the so-called 'leaders' of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), which have increased in the last few days, forcing many people into hiding. APPO is a grassroots movement organising for popular democracy, and it is currently at the centre of the Mexican government's latest wave of repression, which has already resulted in mass illegal arrests of more than 500 people [Flavio Sosa's arrest | more | Interview] and the 'disappearance' of up to 100 people [APPO Communique | APPO activist interview | Eyewitness report].
At the same time, there is also a concerted effort by the Mexican government to try to silence any independent media that is reporting the truth on what is happening in Oaxaca. Following the murder of Indymedia videographer Bradley Will, who was shot dead by paramilitaries whilst documenting an APPO barricade on the 25th of October, the attacks against international and national independent media have continued. Two documentary filmmakers and a translator were illegally detained on 3 December while they were eating at a restaurant in Oaxacxa city centre.
Oscar Beard is an independent journalist from London currently travelling in the southern estates of Mexico. He has regularly contributed text, video and photo reports to the Indymedia newswire. See a list of his reports from Mexico.
A peaceful demonstration to show support and solidarity with the Oaxaca people currently suffering violent police and military repression by the Mexican state took place in front of the Mexican Embassy in London on Monday [Press release]. Around 60 people including drummers and Indymedia supporters gathered in front of the Embassy with banners, and murdered indymedia videographer Brad Will's final footage was projected directly onto the Embassy's facade - all eventually violently interrupted by a massive police presence resulting in eight arrests. Reports: 1 | 2 | Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | Videos: 1 | 2 | Updates on the London arrests: Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Wednesday night red paint was thrown on the walls, stairs and doors of the Mexican Embassy in London to symbolise the blood of the people of Oaxaca. On Thursday another demonstration took place outside London's Mexican embassy [Photos] Later in the evening, discussion and screening of films related to Brad and the situation in Oaxaca took at rampART Social Centre and another one is planned for Saturday 4th (E4E).
There were also protests at embassies and consulates around the world, with 14 demos in the US including direct action at the Mexican consulate in New York City | demos in Rio de Janeiro, Soa Paolo, Brasilia, and Fortaleza in Brazil | Madrid | an embassy occupation in Barcelona | an embassy occupation in Napoli | and several actions in Berlin.
Further information: Last Communique from NYC Indymedia Journalist Brad Will | NYC Indymedia | IMC Mexico | Narco News | CML | La Jornada | APPO Radio Live Broadcast (Sp) | Live Radio Transcript (Eng)
"They might have the strength to impose their will, but we will never give them our consent". (Extract from the Radio APPO log)
Outrage spread around the world over the weekend following the killing of the documentary filmmaker and Indymedia video reporter Brad Will, from New York City at the hands of pro-government supporters who opened fire on unarmed protestors on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. Three others were also killed alongside him (making four dead in total); one member of Radio Universidad was injured.
On Sunday, more than 10,000 military swept the streets of Oaxaca. At their head were tanks with water cannons, laced with tear gas, followed by lines of 3,500 riot cops with batons. Behind them, a further 3,000 military police with automatic rifles. 5,000 army troops were waiting in the outskirts of the city while the paramilitaries continued attacking. Reports came in of snatch squads operating within the city centre, with police and military using helicopters and ambulances to grab protestors and injured people. Many arrests were reported, and at least two protestors were confirmed to have been killed in the clashes. See timeline of events. Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5.
This unprovoked aggression by the Mexican State against the pacific and unarmed people of Oaxaca is one of the largest in the recent history of México and Latin America. As a result, the Zapatista Army of National Lberation (EZLN) is calling for a day of action on November 1st and announces a nationwide strike on November 20th [Call]
A peaceful demonstration against the repression by the Mexican state (police and military) of the Oaxaca workers and the general population took place in front of the Mexican Embassy in London on Monday evening [Press release]. 60-70 or more gathered in front of the Embassy, with a screening of Brad Will's final footage projected onto the Embassy's facade - violently interrupted by the police, resulting in eight arrests [Update on arrests: Tuesday | Wednesday]. Reports: 1 | 2 | Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 and Video. On Wednesday night red paint was thrown on the walls, stairs and doors of the Mexican Embassy in London to symbolise the blood of the people of Oaxaca.
'William Bradley Roland, also known as Brad Will, 36, a documentary filmmaker and reporter for Indymedia New York in Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, died today of a gunshot to the chest when pro-government attackers opened fire on a barricade in the neighborhood of Santa Lucia El Camino, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. He died with his video camera in his hands.' (source: Narconews) Read NYC-Indymedia statement and a Call to all independent journalists to support the struggle in Oaxaca.
Brad had been in Oaxaca taking video and reporting on the state wide popular uprising and teacher strike that began in June with the violent attempted removal of the striking teachers from their encampment in the centre of Oaxaca City by federal police forces. 3 others were also killed alongside him (making 4 dead in total); 1 member of Radio Universidad was also injured: he was taken to the hospital in a volkswagen van as police would not let any ambulances come.
Since the beginning of the strike in June, teachers and other groups have formed the APPO - the Popular Assembly of the Oaxacan People - and have called for the removal of the governor of state Ulises Ruiz of the PRI. There is a long history of Mexico using government sponsored paramilitaries to repress social movements, including a massacre of hundreds of students in Mexico City in 1968. As reports of protesters surrounded by armed government forces and police continue to pour in, activists in cities around the world are planning protests at Mexican embassies and in cyberspace in outcry against the violent aggression against the people of Oaxaca.
On Wednesday, 14th of June, at 3am police units started to shoot teargas from helicopters on the encampment of striking teachers, from the Oaxaca Democratic Teachers’ Union, Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE in its Spanish initials). Shortly afterwards thousands of police, armed with tear gas, smoke grenades, stun grenades and firearms, stormed the occupied main Plaza in Oaxaca where teachers have been gathering for 23 days to protest against Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and for better education.[NarcoNews] The union building was stormed and four journalists from Radio Planton were the first to be arrested. After the police retreated, the teachers retook the central square. [Statement of the EZLN]. At about 6pm the University Radio was raided by police and the transmission cut off.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in Oaxaca against this police brutality and to demand the resignation of the governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
Since the Other Campaign begun, state repression has increased, with a red alert anounced by the EZLN after a brutal police attack in Atenco about a month ago.
Pictures [1 | 2] | Video (12,5 mb)
[Indymedia Oaxaca | Indymedia Chiapas | global Indymedia | Indymedia UK Zapatista page | Indymedia Germany | Indymedia SF Bay | Indymedia Portugal | EZLN Blog | Local newspaper | La Jornada ]
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
On January 1 2006, twelve years after the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas (Mexico), a delegation of the EZLN departed from the Garrucha Caracol to San Cristobal de las Casas [Report and Pics]. This marked the first step in the new Zapatista political initiative known as The Other Campaign (or 'La Otra') - a proposal that aims to forge an anti-capitalist alliance "form below and to the left" in Mexico and beyond. The Other Campaign, timed to coincide with this year's Mexican presidential race, will take the delegation of the EZLN - which includes Subcomandante Marcos (or SubDelegate Zero as he is known in relation to this campaign) - throughout Mexico's 32 states, "so to meet, talk and decide together how fo build another way of doing politics. A programme of struggle that will construct democracy from below, with all these national and international organizations that resist neoliberalism and fight for humanity."
Words: To the Alternative Media | To the National & Int’l Press | SubDelegado Zero on security issues | EZLN denounces harassment and threats | On the Intercontinental proposed in the Sixth Declaration | Revista Rebeldia (Sp)
Translations of EZLN's communiques 1 | 2.
From 22nd to 24th of July a european-wide gathering of Zapatista Solidarity Groups was convened in Barcelona. More than 120 delegates of 36 organisations from Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and Belgium have gathered to discuss the new initiative of the Zapatista Army for Liberation EZLN to build up broad non-parliamentary left alliances.
The Initative to build broad non-parliamentary left alliances was published in the “Sixth Declaration from the Lacadonian Jungle” [1|2|3] start of July.
MP3 audio streams from "The Other Campaign" Zapatista meetings (Sp) 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Photos 1 | 2 | 3 Videos 1 | 2
- Chiapas Indymedia
- Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Campaign
- Glasgow Zapatista Solidarity Group
- Indymedia UK Zapatista Topic pages
- list of communiquees
- Photo archive of red alert
Almost a month after the EZLN announced a Red Alert in all the autonomous Zapatista communities, the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation announced on July 11 that "with the completion of the internal consulta the EZLN has decided to lift the Red Alert which it has been maintaining since June 19, 2005". The EZLN also informed that "the Zapatista Caracoles will be reopened" and that "the different Good Government Juntas will also once again begin their work in their respective headquarters". [ Read full Communique ]
This follows a period of internal consultation with the Zapatista autonomous municipalities and support bases, where "meetings and assemblies were held in more than one thousand indigenous communities in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas". On June 26 a new Communique announced that "the results were that more than 98% approved the new step, and less than 2% decided not to support the proposal", and that over the next few days, the EZLN would make public a series of texts which would form the "Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona."
On June 29 the First Part of the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona is published. This is followed with Part 2 in which the Zapatistas describe how they "see what is going on in the world and in our country", and Part 3 that not only states what the Zapatistas "want to do in the World and in Mexico" but also how they are going to go about doing it.
On July 13, the CCRI-CG of the EZLN publishes two further communiques in which the Zapatistas explain the "Ways and Means" of the new phase of the Zapatista struggle to all those "individuals, organizations, collectives, groups and associations of the left who support what has been proposed in the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona".
A communique from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee General Command (CCRI-CG) of the EZLN declared a general red alert throughout all Zapatista territory. Members of the autonomous administrative bodies are being evacuated from the various autonomous municipalities and internationals are being urged to leave.
On Monday 20 another communique explained the red alert as a precautionary defensive measure in response to the Mexican governments continued attacks and betrayal, stating that the EZLN is 'returning the word it gave on the first of January of 1994'.
On Tuesday 21 the next communique reassured that the Zapatistas have re-organised so as to survive an attack on their clandestine leadership by government forces or paramilitaries: 'the CCRI-CG of the EZLN is letting it be known that conditions are in place to continue leading the Zapatista struggle even if it were to lose, be it through jail, through death or through forced disappearance'. On the same day, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos addressed the national and international civil society with another "letter of explanation and/or, perhaps, farewell" that, amongst other things, states that the Zapatistas are not preparing a military ofensive. It starts with: 'This is not a letter of farewell. At times it is going to seem as if it is, that it is a farewell, but it is not. It is a letter of explanation. Well, that is what we shall attempt. This was originally going to go out as a communique, but we have chosen this form because, for good or for bad, when we have spoken with you we have almost always done so in this most personal tone.'
On Sunday 26 another communique is published by the EZLN which states that "The CCRI-CG of the EZLN is informing you that it has finished consulting with tens of thousands of support bases." and that "The results were that more than 98% approved the new step, and less than 2% decided not to support the EZLN's proposal."
On Wdnesday 26 the Six Declaration of the Selva Lacandona is published by the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. The text does a balance of the last 12 years of Zapatista struggle for autonomy and indigenous rights, and points to the fact that "we have reached a point where we cannot go any further, and, in addition, it is possible that we could lose everything we have if we remain as we are and do nothing more in order to move forward", and that "the hour has come to take a risk once again and to take a step which is dangerous but which is worthwhile".
[Indymedia Chiapas | Radio Insurgente | FZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Front) | IMC UK Zapatista section | IMC-UK coverage of Zapatista Caravan to Mexico City]
Following the John Ross talk, the following weekend will also see a number of Zapatista solidarity events happening in Leeds.
- Saturday 4/6: benefit gig, 8pm till late
- Sunday 5/6: infoday, 1-5pm
- Sunday 5/6: Chiapas Information afternoon. Videos and talk on the Zapatista struggle, plus how to get involved in solidarity work in Chiapas.
Both events are at the Common Place
John Ross is speaking twice on Friday at:
2pm School of Geography, Leeds University, lecture theatre (east building)
7pm Common Place, 23 Wharf Street, nr the Corn Exchange (food available)
Activists from Mexican indigenous direct action group CIPO-RFM will be visiting the UK for the first time on a 5 date speaking tour (including Cambridge: Wednesday 23rd February, 8pm Films, Bharat Bhavan -- old Mill Road Library) to promote their struggle against globalisation in Oaxaca. Admission to all the dates are free and two short films made by activists will also be shown. They hope to raise awareness about the recent increase in state repression being suffered by Mexican activists. There will also be a benefit gig on feb 18th.