The name of the officer in charge was Abimael Torresanchez. The Federales said they had received reports of people in cars being harassed by the villagers. As international observers we were at the roadblock 24 hours a day, and witnessed no such actions as indicated. The Federales wrote down the name of the observers, but was not allowed to see our passports. The officer in charge threatened the observers to return with Migration officers the next day. The police demanded to speek to the Responable of the community and wrote down his name. The police were driven back by the women of the community, and further violent actions did not occur.
At about 1300 hours the next day, a helicopter approached the roadblock, circling above the village with a very low height for about ten minutes. It was registered with the letters XL-BGC.
Around 1600 hours we were notified that there was a large number of Federales and military at the end of the road leading to the village. The women from the community gathered to block the road and chase them away if they tried to enter. As they did not appear, the women returned to the community.
The roadblock was attacked at 17.45 hours the 14th of April. The Federales had brought two Migration officers, and the three observers present at the roadblock were arrested at the spot. Films from our cameras were confiscated together with all the things and personal documents we were carrying at us. The federales were very aggressive, especially towards the male observer. He was kicked in the kidneys and received several blows to the rest of the body. No serious damage was done. We were placed in the back of a pick-up and got our heads covered so we should not be able to witness any of the actions done by the police. Before we got our heads covered, we saw one officer in black uniform hit one of the villagers in the head with the back of his gun. We also saw the first gas being fired and we heard several shots.
We were kept on the pick-up for about an hour, and the male observer had an AK-47 pointed at his head for a long time. We were not aloud to talk to each other. Both Federales and military were gathered around the car, and they were very threatening. The female observers were touched in intimidating ways. As we were held at the pick-up, they searched our things in the village.
We were driven to the house where we had stayed to pick up our things. Several photos were taken of us inside the house (Casa Grande). At least 50 soldiers and police officers gathered around the car, and harassed us. They had found some condoms in one of the backpacks and were indicating the possible use of it, directed to all the three of us, and a lot of sexist commments were said. When they saw the passport picture of the male observer, they sent it around and said they were going to use the condoms on him instead of the females because of his long hair. Several of the young men seemed to having used drugs, and these were especially aggressive towards us. Some of the older officers repeated several times that we should not receive blows which could make marks, especially since we were from Norway and that this country and the United States had good diplomatic connections.
On the way to the military base nearby, they discussed what to do with us. They were discussing whether they should kill and dump us somewhere and take all our things. Then again they mentioned our origin and the difficulties this would have caused.
We were held at the military base for a short time. This was where Jose Alfredo Lopez Méndez were thrown into the truck. It seemed like he had suffered severe beatings. He was bleeding from his mouth and from his nose, and his shirt and pants were torn. They were threathening him with what violent actions they would do to him and there were lots of racist harassment. They hit him repeatedly and said they would throw him into the water (they repeatedly used an expression for this, seemed like a well known way of torture), if he didn´t say the things they wanted him to. They kept asking him about where weapons were hidden, about names of commandantes of the EZLN and his affiliation with the rebels. When he said he didn´t know, they hit in his kidneys and other places. They kept asking him about us, how long we had been in the community, who we had been talking to. They kept showing us photos of Marcos, which they had confiscated in the village. They wanted us to say that we knew him, and they did this also to Jose Alfredo. They harassed him of not having a passport, indicating he was in a far worse situation than us.
We were taken to the Migration office in Altamirano. They had brought the sign from the roadblock which said "Alto total militares - Campamento civil por la paz - Territorio Rebelde Zapatista". They had also brought a banner which was in the kitchen of the peace camp. After having taken a lot of photos an video filming the four of us, they said several times they wanted to take photos they could use for propaganda. They physically forced us to line up with the two different signs, taking lots of pictures and repeating all the time they would use it for propaganda. We repeatedly said we wanted to call our embassy, but we were not allowed. They kept hitting Jose Alfredo, while interrogating him. When they took him away, around 2200 hours, he had problems walking because of physical mistreatment. He was escorted by both military and federales. When he complained about pain, they assured him that he would get medical attention. We did not witness any such treatment as long as he was with us.
The police took our watches, caps, and one camera. They superficially went through our backpacks to take the things they wanted. They also took most of our money and a headlamp.
At approximately 22.30 we drove off to Tuxtla Gutierrez. We arrived at 02.15, where a military plane was waiting for us and took us to Mexico City. There we arrived at about 04.00 hours. We were met by several migration officers, who searched us and took our shoelaces and belts, which we did not get back. We were taken directly into interrogation. We did not deliver any statements to the migration officers. This was the first time we were allowed to try to call our embassy. We were not notified that the ambassador were on his way, and we received no other information on the way of what they were planning to do with us, even though we asked several times.
We were put on a plane to New York with 3 Mexican migration officers. They took our passports. When we arrived Newark airport, the American migration told them they had no right holding on to our passports. We had it back for 5 minutes before they took them again. The Mexicans were with us all the way to Oslo. They took our 1st class seats which were arranged to us from Norway, and refused us to drink alcohol on the plane. We did not get our passports back before the Norwegian migration officials forced them to. They also refused to give any statement to the Norwegian press.