Day of the Dead Altar Honours Acteal Martyrs

Rosie Castellanos | 06.11.2009 17:34 | Anti-militarism | Social Struggles

On Monday 2 November, friends of the Chiapas-based group ‘Las Abejas’ constructed a Day of the Dead altar in front of the Mexican embassy in London. The altar commemorated the 45 Acteal Martyrs killed by paramlitaries 22 December 1997 and stood witness to the continuing injustice commited by the State.

La Catrina
La Catrina

Leaflet of the Acteal event at Mexican Embassy 2009
Leaflet of the Acteal event at Mexican Embassy 2009



Via email the Abejas sent their greetings and gratitude for this act of solidarity. They also informed supporters of developments in the Acteal massacre case. On the 12th of August the Mexican Supreme Court released 20 paramilitaries. A further 31 were expected to be released, but as of 2 November none had.

Passer-byers and supporters of the Abejas enjoyed traditional Day of the Dead bread along with Mexican hot chocolate and ‘cafe de olla’.

Around the altar fluttered colourful Mexican paper-cut flags, providing a backdrop for 45 tiny t-shirts, ‘huipil’ blouses and skirts, and tunics and trousers. The offering included food such as corn, beans, dead bread, adornments, candles and flowers.

Supporters at the Day of Dead event collected signatures on a letter demanding the reopening of the Acteal massacre case as a State crime. Stepping yet further away from seeing justice done, on 4 November another nine men previously imprisoned for the massacre were released. The justices ordered a new trial for 16 of the remaining defendants and upheld the sentences of six men.

The urgency of this issue is not going away. Las Abejas are also looking into taking the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Read the letter and add your signature here.

Links for more information

Rosie Castellanos


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