Thousands march in Mexico to demand an end to attacks on Zapatista communities

Mexico City, Jun 8 (EFE).- Several thousand people marched on Thursday in Mexico City, San Cristobal de las Casas and some other parts of the country to demand an end to recent attacks by paramilitary groups against Zapatista communities in the southern Chiapas state.

In addition to an end to the violence in an area that the Zapatista movement says is “on the verge of a civil war,” protesters in the Mexican capital demanded that the army and large multinationals withdraw from the territories of the indigenous peoples of the region.

“We describe the situation as a civil war because of the way things are going. Paramilitary groups, organized crime, the militarized National Guard and large transnationals operate (in the territories of the Zapatista communities), seeking to keep the peoples away from wealth,” Diego Garcia, a member of the National Indigenous Congress, said in an interview with EFE.

Although there has been sustained violence against these indigenous communities since the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), in recent weeks it has worsened.

On Saturday, at least seven people were killed and three wounded in an armed attack against members of the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, at a time when they were being forcibly displaced from their territories.

“They wanted to intimidate our Zapatista comrades, and that is why we marched, to stop the war,” said Anselma Margarito, a young woman from the Otomi community living in Mexico City.

The demonstrators, who marched from the Angel of Independence to Zócalo, the city’s main square where the National Palace, residence of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is located, also criticized the government’s inaction in the face of recurring attacks against the Zapatistas.

“The government should not turn a deaf ear…it is time for the federal government to prevent bloodshed,” urged Dario Espinosa, bassist of the iconic Mexican band Pantheon Rococó, whose members are staunch supporters of the Zapatista movement.

In San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas state, activists, EZLN supporters and human rights organizations demonstrated in the Plaza de la Resistencia to demand an end to the war.

The demonstrators protested against the attacks carried out by paramilitaries in different caracoles, or Zapatista communities, in the state, and demanded the release of political prisoners.

The march was carried out peacefully and concluded with a small demonstration in front of the stage where pianist Arturo Aquino was due to perform hours later. EFE


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