Guest Author - Aisling Ireland
On 3 May 2006, hundreds of people in the area of San Salvador Atenco were brutalized by police. 26 women were raped and hundreds more were subjected to torture, cruel and inhumane behaviour and many were illegally detained. These horrific acts of police brutality were the result of a civil uprising.
And one of the more bizarre aspects of the day is that all of the events were due to the displacement and blockage of flower vendors. That's right - flower vendors. The entire day's events and all of the brutal acts of police started in the arms of flower vendors.
The flower vendors were prohibited from selling their flowers in Texcoca. The vendors left but returned with reinforcements - some of the people from San Salvador Atenco. The people of Atenco were know for their active participation in civil matters having resisted plans to build an airport in their community back in 2002.
60 flower vendors left Texcoca; several hundred people returned. The protesters sat up a blockade to the town. If the flower vendors could not go into the city, no one else would either.
The police response to the protest was massive. Thousands of officers were dispatched to put down the protest and remove the blockade. To be fair, the protest appears to have been less than peaceful, however, it was not at the protest where the majority of the human rights violations occurred. In fact, the day of the protest was not even the day most of the violations occurred - that was left until the next day, 4 May 2006.
It was on 4 May 2006 that police came back - and when they returned they went straight to the people of Atenco. The literally came in, took over, and occupied the town. They came in as if they were in a war zone. They began house to house searches. They tear gassed the village. They took down anyone who got in their way in any way they could - they beat them, they shot them in the head. And once they were in, the abuse continued on with women being raped, people being brutalized, and many illegally arrested.
But the people of Atenco did not give up the fight. They took their case all the way to the Supreme Court and demanded justice there. And in February the Supreme Court decided that the people of Atenco were entitled to that justice.
But justice has not been delivered to the people of Atenco, despite the Supreme Court's ruling. Instead, the man who should be in charge of dispensing justice has turned a not-so-blind eye to the Atenco citizenry. Eduardo Medina-Mora, the Mexican Attorney General is yet to bring any one to justice or hold anyone accountable for the human rights violations of 3-4 May 2006. And while it may always be a bit dodgy to speculate on the motives of others, it is curious to note that Medina-Mora was the person who was in command of the police who committed the abuses. And since he was the person in charge of the forces, it appears that he is the least likely person to actually dispense the justice that the Mexican Supreme Court has ruled necessary.
But here is where you can help. Amnesty International is asking for all who are concerned with justice to sign their petition in an attempt to give justice to those whose human rights were violated. AI's plan is to deliver the petition to Mexican President Calderón by the end of April so that he can see that the world has not forgotten the people of Atenco.
From the AI site:
By the end of April, we want to send such a long list of names to President Calderón, that he is compelled to take action. We want President Calderón to stand on the side of the Mexican people and on the side of human rights.
Join me in signing the petition by going here:
Take Action - Women of Atenco
*~Aisling Ireland~* is long time human rights activist, a active member of Amnesty International, a One Campaign supporter, writer, and an ordained Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counselor.
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