Commuique from Autonomous Municipality of Tierra y Libertad

May 2, 1998

To the Public Opinion
To the National and International Press
To the International Commission of Human rights

We are making a complaint in front of the people of Mexico for the occurrences in the Autonomous Pueblo of Tierra y Libertad, with its seat of government in the Ejido of Amparo Agua Tinta.

It was four in the morning on the first of May when the Mexican Army, State Judicial Police, Federal Judicial Police, Public Security Police, Federal Highway Police and agents of the National Migration Institute entered the community in a violent manner. They were guided by PRI members who walked in front signaling houses that they said were of sympathizers of the EZLN. The armed forces violently entered the houses to drag the men out, and if the men resisted, they were brutally beaten.

In this same operation, several men, women and children were beaten. Several people were wounded by weapons. These people beaten had been pointed out as Zapatista sympathizers. There were also 61 people detained (53 of the community and 8 Guatemalans) and not 47 like the press said. Further, there are four people missing and we fear that the armed forces have them in their power and they are being tortured.

The government's Armed Forces entered the "Town Hall" of the Autonomous Municipal Council and took the typewriters and important documents of the municipality. They sacked the cooperative stores, and took merchandise and the cash from sales. Everything was taken by the armed forces, mostly by the Public Security Police and the Mexican Army.

Now, the community has been taken over by Priistas who have firearms that were given to them by the Mexican Army. They won't let people enter who they say are Zapatista sympathizers.

The operation was carried out by more than 1,000 agents of the Armed Forces mentioned above.

In this call, we demand that the state governor and federal president respect the form of government of all the communities, because if we had an Autonomous Pueblo, we did so because it is the best way to govern ourselves.

We, the people affected by the operation, members of the Autonomous Pueblo, are presenting this complaint.

Tierra y Libertad

May 1998

Source: ENLACE CIVIL A.C. Calle Ignacio Allende 4 29200 San Cristóbal de Las Casas CHIAPAS-MEXICO Tel y fax: (52) 967-82104 e-mail: CONSULTA NUESTRA PAGINA ELECTRONICA CON INFORMACION NUEVA CADA 15 DIAS

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