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All This For Selling Flowers?

Press Release - For Immediate Release - 11 September 2008


All This For Selling Flowers?

A screening of the film 'Atenco:Break the Seige'
Wednesday 24 September, 6.30pm
Happy, corner of Vivian and Tory Sts, Wellington
entry by koha/donation

On the 3rd of May 2006 in Texcoco, Mexico: Farmers selling flowers were attacked by police who wrecked their stalls and removed them from the market. Residents from the nearby town of San Salvador Atenco came to the aid of the farmers and confronted the police. 4000 armed police officers laid siege to the small town of Atenco, brutally repressing the population. Riot police moved systematically throughout the town, smashing their way into houses and savagely beating the occupants - irrespective of age or gender.

14-year old Francisco Javier Santiago, was shot at point-blank range by a police officer. He died immediately. Twenty-year old Alexis Benhumea was struck in the head by a tear gas canister fired by the police. Denied medical attention, he lapsed into a coma, and died one month later. Over 200 people were arrested, and eighteen 'disappeared', all beaten at the hands of the police. However, the worst was still to come;

Of the 47 women arrested almost all were gang-raped and /or sexually abused by the Mexican police, on the specific orders of their superiors. These most brutal tactics of repression were carried out by uniformed representatives of the State as part of a deliberate attempt to terrorise the population they are sworn to protect. These vile acts were part of a deliberate attempt on the part of the Mexican State to punish the people of Atenco for their defeat of an airport expansion programme in 2004, and the farmers of Texcoco for standing in the way of construction of a new Wal-Mart superstore.

Now on 21 August 2008, Peña Nieto (Governor of the State of Mexico) sentenced 10 of those detained since May 2006, to jail terms of 31 years and 11 months each. Additionally Ignacio del Valle of the People's Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT in its Spanish initials), was sentenced to 45 years, to be added to his current 67 year sentence, bringing his total sentence to 122 years. Felipe Álvarez and Héctor Galindo (both also of the FPDT) also remain unjustly incarcerated, having been sentenced to 67 years each in 2007.

This is but one example of the world-wide phenomenon where politicians in the pockets of businessmen send armed gangs to trample human life and dignity in their mad scramble for profit.

The Wellington Zapatista Support Group proudly present a screening of the film 'Atenco: Break the Seige' and discussion about Atenco on Wednesday 24th September, 6.30pm, at Happy, corner Vivian and Tory Sts, Wellington. Entry is by koha/donation with all proceeds going to support the political prisoners of Atenco and their families.

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