From the online Radio Sabotaje, late on May 5:
Marcos has just arrived in Atenco with 4,000 individuals representing students, workers, farmers, teachers and and community organizations. Mexican mainstream media is reporting agression on the part of the marchers – the truth appears otherwise. The Other Campaign will stay in Mexico City indefinitely. A peaceful meeting is scheduled in Atenco tomorrow at 12 noon.
The Mexican news agency APRO reports that state and federal police have thrown up a “security belt” around Atenco after storming the town May 4. In response, residents called for aid from the EZLN. Despite the police cordon, the Zapatistas seem to have gained access to the town. The situation clearly remains very tense, and human rights groups are calling for an investigation into the May 3 violence that sparked the stand-off.
From El Universal, May 5:
Television broadcasts showed officers repeatedly beating protesters, including some who already had been taken into custody.
The National Human Rights Commission [a government body] said it is investigating the beatings.
“The regrettable, violent acts perpetrated by a small group yesterday in the State of Mexico are an outrage against society and an attack on the rule of law,” President Vicente Fox said Thursday [evidently talking about the protesters, not the police]. “No cause justifies breaking the law.”
Fox pledged to “guarantee the rule of law,” though earlier, violent demonstrations by the same group of townspeople here have largely gone unpunished.
Authorities detained 117 people, including key community leader Ignacio del Valle, said Humberto Benitez, secretary-general of the State of Mexico, which borders Mexico City on three sides.
Del Valle and a fellow resident of San Salvador Atenco were charged with the February kidnapping of a state official, said Carlos Motta, spokesman for the State of Mexico Superior Court. Motta said del Valle was likely to face charges related to Wednesday’s violence as well, although no specific charges had been presented yet.
Shortly before midnight Wednesday, radical community leaders called Red Cross officials to a small clinic near the center of town and released the six state and federal police officers they had seized hours earlier.
Organizers said it was a gesture of good will since all of the former hostages were injured – having been beaten and some sliced with machetes.
More from El Universal, May 6:
Public Security Secretary Eduardo Medina, the nation’s top police official, admitted Friday that excessive force had been used in putting down the riots on Wednesday. “Obviously, when force is used in the heat of these circumstances, there are sometimes excesses that cannot be avoided,” he said.
But Medina said the use of force was necessary, with the local rioting out of control and a number of local police officers having been held hostage.
All sources via Chiapas95
More reports and images at Radio Sabotaje.
Photos are also online at Indybay, which reports that the Atenco prisoners have gone on hunger strike, and many prisoners in Mexico state have joined them in solidarity—bringing a total of nearly 220 strikers.
See our last post on the escalation in Mexico.