Military role in Atenco repression: Mexican rights commission

An official investigation by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has confirmed the participation of military troops in May’s deadly police operation at the village of San Salvador Atenco. The CNDH reports it has uncovered a document in which the Federal Support Forces (Fuerzas Federales de Apoyo), an agency which provides back-up to state police forces in emergencies, called for troops of the Third Military Police Brigade to join Mexico state police in putting down the protests at Atenco. CNDH chief Jose Luis Soberanes Fernandez said that authorities must not only clarify the facts, but bring criminal charges against those responsible for the beating and sexual abuse of 26 detainees. (APRO, Oct. 17)

The newly-released report finds that 207 individuals were subjected to cruel treatment in the Atenco violence, 145 were arbitrarily arrested and 26 women were sexually abused. The report also blames the deaths of two people on state police and criticizes the National Migration Institute for arbitrarily deporting five foreigners present in Atenco during the disturbances.

“It is clear, according to the evidence gathered by this commission, that during the operation, some officers brutally beat the detainees, even putting their lives at risk,” the report reads. The report also finds evidence of looting and pilfering of houses searched by police during the operation. (El Universal, Oct. 17)

On the day the report was released, some 25 Atenco residents, some with machetes in hand and masks covering their faces, blocked the streets in front of the CNDH offices to demand the liberation of 207 of their comrades still behind bars. (Notimex, Oct. 16)

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See our last posts on Mexico and the Atenco crisis.