Denouncing Attacks on Petalcingo

July 26, 2000.

To the National and International Press
To Public Opinion
To National and International Human Rights Organizations To National and International Civil Society

Brothers and sisters, we are once again publicly denouncing the arbitrary acts by the repressive forces of the state and federal governments. We, as ejiditarios and residents of the PETALCINGO Ejido, of the municipality of Tila, Chiapas. Attacks and intimidation by the federal Army, the Judicial Police and the Public Security police are constantly increasing.

Currently, the federal army, judicial police and public security police are mounting checkpoints on the streets of the Ejido at all hours and days of the week, searching the belongings of the men and women, boys and girls, who walk by the checkpoints, laughing at the humble indigenous' things. The military convoys and tanks remain parked at the places where the checkpoints are, while the rest have gone onto land 400 meters from the Ejido, and another spot 500 meters away, places which are called "Jhamayil" and "Woy-akil." There they are dispersing among the coffee plantations, fields and roads, destroying the crops, intimidating the women and upsetting the activities of the campesinos and campesinas.

We learned in the media that the government wants to have dialogue with the indigenous, but a dialogue with weapons at the heads of the indigenous like they are doing. And, also, Ernesto Zedillo's great speech for "free expression" day, when he does not understand what freedom of expression means, when the realities and situations of the communities are never publicized in the government's media, the media which the government controls.

Brothers and sisters, examine and reflect on our situation. Where is the provocation? Why do we find ourselves like this: humiliated, discriminated against solely for being poor or for being indigenous? Where are our rights as indigenous? Who is violating the laws? We ask ourselves - the indigenous or the government? Why do they humiliate us with our own money, paying for thousands of armies, judicial police and public security police, only to attack honorable persons such as we, the indigenous.

In response to all of this, we are demanding from the State and Federal governments the immediate withdrawal of all police forces in our area, and the full carrying out of the San Andre's Accords.

Sincerely,

The majority of the ejiditarios and residents of Petalcingo.

Signed by Marcos Lo'pez Pe'rez, promoter for the Network of Community Human Rights defenders

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