Thursday morning found the south of Mexico City entangled in street blockades and protests with students, workers and peasants demanding justice for the people of Texcoco. Dozens of people have been arrested and the city police have been brutally detaining the protests. Early afternoon, it looks like student demonstrators will return to the National Autonomist University of Mexico (UNAM), Latin America’s largest institute of higher-learning, and attempt to occupy various sections of the school.
Wednesday morning, 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. As they moved to reoccupy their space in the pre-dawn hours, the 40 flower vendors received back-up from the nearby municipality of Atenco. Arming themselves with machetes and Molotov cocktails, the vendors were hit with tear gas and batons. While defending their space in the market in Mexico state, a 14 year-old boy died from the impact of tear gas in the chest and more than forty people were arrested.
“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,” Marcos said before thousands of people during a public rally in Tlatelolco. During his preceding speeches in Mexico City that day with small-time merchants and market vendors, Marcos had been discussing the plight of Texcoco. During his final speech of the day, Marcos exploded with rage and indignation. As of the afternoon of May 3, Subcommandante Marcos of the EZLN (National Zapatista Army of Liberation) announced during a public act in Mexico City a new red alert and closure of Zapatista caracoles and suspension of activities of La Otra Campaña, which has now become a struggle to support the people of Texcoco, who for the past two days have been experiencing severe government repression.
The peasant flower venders 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 venders 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.
“We will see who is really with la Otra. 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. Contact your local Mexican consulate and demand justice for the people of Texcoco: http://www.travelguru.net/html/consulates/mexico.html for more information on atenco: http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/mexico/comment/airportAUG02.html http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/mexico/2002/0713groups_protest.htm