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W'gtn: Protestors Show Solidarity with Zapatistas

Wellington: Texcoco y Atenco - no estan solo!

Around a dozen people protested at the Mexican Embassy today to show solidarity with the political prisoners in Mexico and the Zapatistas. A group of protesters went upstairs to speak to the deputy ambassador (Enrique Franco) and others handed out leaflets outside the embassy. Flowers and a message to the Mexican government were left with the embassy staff.

Concerned Wellington citizens have visited the embassy twice already in 2004 in relation to police brutality in Guadalajara. Some activists reacted with anger to the ambassador's announcment of an investigation into the incidents of rape and abuse in the prisons. The ambassador is the representative of the Mexican state and is responsible for the suffering of the people in the prisons and in the streets.

- STOP police brutality in Texcoco and Atenco!
- Solidarity with the Zapatistas and the Other Campaign!
- Freedom for all political prisoners!

- ¡Pare la brutalidad del policía en Texcoco y Atenco!
- ¡Solidaridad con los Zapatistas y la Otra Campaña!
- ¡Libertad para todos los presos políticos!

On Wednesday morning, 3rd May, flower vendors from People in Defense of the Land Front (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra) occupying a space in the Texcoco market were brutally repressed by state police. While defending their space in the market in Mexico state, a 14 year-old boy died and hundreds of people were arrested. 217 prisoners began a hunger strike in central Mexico Friday protesting the conditions of their arrests and their treatment at the hands of local police. Reports have been filtering out from jail of rape, physical and mental abuse experienced by people who were arrested for their involvement in the defense of Texcoco and Atenco.

This happened a few days after the Zapatista initiated 'Other Campaign' visited the area. The EZLN (National Zapatista Army of Liberation) subsequently issued a new Red Alert for the autonomous communities in Chiapas.

"The municipal president wants to evict these people because he thinks their market leaves the area dirty and he wants to put a commercial center, a Wal-mart in Texcoco," Subcommandante Marcos of the EZLN (National Zapatista Army of Liberation) said before thousands of people during a public rally in Tlatelolco.

The peasant flower vendors have been resisting eviction for weeks. The area they use has been eyed by local authorities for a new commercial center. As part of the People in Defense of the Land, the flower vendors have been joined by people in struggle from Atenco, a municipal adjacent to Texcoco. In 2002, the people of Atenco successfully resisted the construction of a national airport on their land with machetes and popular organization.

America del Valle a member of People in Defense of the Land spoke before the crowd. "The reason of this aggression is something that they repeat every day; it is for the crime of reclaiming one piece of land to sell products that we produce from our land: nopales, verduras, flowers," she said.

She announced the demands of the movement: liberation of arrested individuals and return of the market space.
Marcos called for regional coordinators throughout the country of Mexico to organize themselves in solidarity with Texcoco.

"We will see who is really with la Otra [The other campaign]. Here we will see if this is true of la Otra; if it is not only speeches but if its solidarity and urgent action."

Marcos announced meetings after the rally to coordinate actions for Thursday, which will begin at 8 a.m. He also announced a new red alert, closure of Zapatista caracoles and suspension of activities in La Otra Campaña, which is wrapping up its tour in Mexico City.

"The Zapatistas are, today, Texcoco. We are going to be alert to their demands. Closure of streets, highways, flyering, painting, protests. We respect their decisions, we will arrive to where they tell us to go,"Marcos said.


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