Mitzitón road blockade continues to demand relocation of paramilitaries

In a statement issued on the 1st of July, the community of Mitzitón,
adherent to the Other Campaign, reported an increase in threats
and provocations of the paramilitary group Eagle's Wing, Army of God and
announced the beginning of a permanent block to the San Cristobal Road in
the section which passes through the town, until the government relocates
the paramilitary group.

Updates: http://chiapas.indymedia.org/

URGENT ACTION

Imminent risk of repression against indigenous Mitzitón.

State government threatens eviction that could lead to serious violations
of human rights.

The Chiapas state government threatens to make operational the police
eviction of residents of the Mitzitón roadblock they are maintaining, as
an action to defend their territory.

The state government proposes to relocate Mitzitón residents and make
their area a forest reserve. The community said that not only do they not
accept the proposal but that they will defend their territory at any cost.

Given the community response, the state government warned that the
roadblock will be evicted.

The Mitzitón community since February 2009 has maintained a struggle for
the defense of its territory. Evidence indicates that the Mexican
government aims to build the highway San Cristobal de las Casas-Palenque
and expand the San Cristobal de las Casas - Comitán de Domínguez Road. The
state government has repeatedly denied the existence of such a project.
However the proposed relocation of the community is evidence that they
intend to deprive Tsotsil people of their territory.

Background:

The blockade is being made to require the state government to relocate to
non-cooperating group called the Army of God that has harassed the
community for 13 years. The community assembly decided to request the
relocation the group. In recent days the Army of God have conducted
indiscriminate felling of trees in violation of the rules of procedure of
the ejido forestry laws, of which the ejido authorities gave notice to the
competent authorities at the time that logging was done, without offenders
being arrested so far.

As of February 27, 2010, events turned violent when Mr. Andrés Jiménez
Hernández, a member of the non-cooperative, felled five trees without the
permission of the Community.  By agreement of the assembly, the timber was
seized and taken to the ejido yard. Sr. Jiménez went to his group instead
of going to the authorities, who organized the kidnapping of three
adherents to the Other Campaign. The detainees were taken to the house of
Francisco Gómez Díaz, who belongs to the non-cooperative. They were
blindfolded, tied to poles, sprayed with gasoline threatened that they
would be set fire and brutally beaten.

Among the attackers was Raul Jimenez Jimenez, of the State Preventive
Police and the main instigator of the violence exercised by the Eagle
Wings, Army of God.  Men and women adherents to the Other Campaign held a
road blockade to demand the release of the three detained and also to
prevent the transit of the paramilitaries.  Subsequently four wounded
members of the non-cooperative, were detained at the roadblock.  The next
day the adherents of the Other Campaign and the other inmates were
released. The state government assuming the payment of damages caused by
the aggressors.

On July 21, 2009 a group of ejidatarios, commissioned by the ejido
assembly to measure the land, were intercepted by approximately 60 people
in the Army of God,  and attacked with stones, sticks and slingshots. Then
came a truck with five people on board, two of them with rifles R-15, who
fired twice.  The van, which was going very fast, ran over several
ejidatarios.  As a consequence of these facts one person was killed, Mr.
Aurelio Díaz Hernández and five were seriously injured: Fernando Heredia
Heredia, Heredia Javier Gomez, Raymundo Diaz Heredia, Heredia Jiménez and
José Marcelino Hernández Jiménez.  After a simulated criminal trial which
concluded that the offense was accidental and unintentional, the
assailant, Francisco Jimenez Vicente, was freed in late January 2010,
having spent only four months in prison.

Faced with the imminent threat of a violent eviction we appeal to the
national and international community to demand that the Mexican
authorities:

* Search for a solution through dialogue and not through the use of the
security forces.

* Respect the law in the territory, which as an indigenous people Mitzitón
people have, as required by ILO Convention 169.

* Relocate the paramilitary group the Army of God as required by the
residents of Mitzitón. 

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