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SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2019

DEFENDING THE LAND: ATENCO REVOLTS

Sorrel

2008-09-17 17:13:07

Politics & News

Political activists got naked this past weekend to raise awareness of the police brutality and injustice taking place in Atenco, Mexico. In 2002 Atenco residents fought for the right to keep their land when the government proposed the expropriation of 5000 hectares of farmland to build a new airport. Some voices were faintly heard like the voice of a 70-year-old farmer quoted as saying "I will not sell it. The land is our sustenance."* After years of public revolt, and Zapatista support, Atenco successfully rejected government control of the region. On May 3rd 2006, another revolt took place: Sixty local flower vendors were denied the right to set up stands, in celebration of Mother's day, at the local Texcoco market, and police forcefully arrested those who resisted. Neighboring Atenco civilians came to their aid and were brought down by an overwhelming police response. Civilians marched with "machetes, clubs, Molotov cocktails and bottle rockets."* They were matched by riot police yielding clubs, tear-gas and metal pellets fired to the head at close range. Two minors were killed and over 200 were struck down and arrested. No one was safe from the strong hand of the law, even men from the international press and local photographers alike were violently suppressed. The cameraman positioned to capture the arrest of Zapatista's campaign front-man, Del Valle, was repeatedly clubbed and silenced. Police officials ransacked local residences and severely wounded dozens.

This past August Del Valle was sentenced to 112 years imprisonment, accompanied by 10 supporters who were each alloted a sentence of 32 years. The men, women and children, marching this past weekend for justice, gave voice to the political prisoners by bearing it all.

note from activists:
Of the 47 women arrested during the police riot in Atenco, twenty-six report being mentally, physically, or sexually tortured during their detention. To date, no police officer has been convicted of torture or sexual abuse.
http://otravancouver.resist.ca

* http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/mexico/comment/airportAUG02.html
* http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/280/1/
Comments

Alamir

Alamir

2008-09-17 19:53:06

Mexico's war with Zapatista's has been going on for a long time, it's important for the international media's attention to the issue.

claudia

claudia

2008-09-17 22:27:33

Your comment about the police ransacking and stealing things from people while they were supposed to be suppressing the riots is sadly a very true and common occurrence in Mexico today. The degree of corruption in various levels of public service is astounding. I don't believe that incidents like those at Atenco can be properly dealt with if the people protecting and representing Mexicans cannot uphold the values they claim to serve. Good article

Sorrel

Sorrel

2008-09-19 11:46:24

I admit I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but I do agree that raising awareness of these harsh realities is a small step to making a difference. Thank you both for your comments and support.



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