Mexico: army clashes with ‘community police’

Mexican army troops on Aug. 27 disarmed members of the “community police” force after a brief scuffle on the coastal highway in Guerrero state. Some 800 members of the self-defense patrol and their supporters were marching from the pueblo of El ParaĂ­so, Ayutla de los Libres municipality, to  Cruz Grande, Florencio Villareal municipality, when approximately 200 troops in armored vehicles surrounded them, and demanded they surrender their rifles and machetes. In a few minutes of physical struggle, some 300 patrol members were disarmed, and 10 detained. Women, children and elders also participated in the march, which was called to demand liberty for movement leader Nestora Salgado GarcĂ­a and 13 “community police” members from Olinalá pueblo.

Salgado GarcĂ­a, leader of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC), had been arrested days earlier by Guerrero state police on “abduction” charges stemming from confrontations between the “community police” and “official” authorities at Olinalá municipality. Among the 13 followers arrested along with her is Bernardino GarcĂ­a Francisco, a survivor of the 1998 massacre at El Charco, in which suspected adherents of the region’s simmering guerilla movement were ambushed by the army.

After the brief clash with the troops, the marchers—mostly Mixtec and Tlapanec indigenous peasants—regrouped and blocked traffic on the highway for several hours. (La Jornada de Oriente, Aug. 28; APRO, Milenio, Aug. 27)

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