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Riot Police Storm Indigenous Town in Mexico Leaving Two Dead, Dozens Wounded

StoryJanuary 16, 2004
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The people of Tlalnepantla, south of Mexico City, declared themselves "autonomous" and seized the town hall after the state government rejected the traditional democratic process of selecting the town mayor. We go to Mexico to speak with an independent reporter living in Morelos. [includes transcript]

In Mexico, riot police clashed with locals in the indigenous town of Tlalnepantla, Morelos, Mexico.

The people of Tlalnepantla, south of Mexico City, had declared themselves "autonomous" and seized the town hall after refusing to recognize the mayor since November.

Like thousands of indigenous communities in Mexico the town elects its leaders in an open town council consisting of the entire adult population. In last July’s elections this way of selecting authorities was rejected by the Mexican electoral commission and the candidate who officially won at the polls was not selected by the full town assembly. A majority of the population of Tlalnepantla subsequently called for an annulment of the electoral results, but the Morelos state government ignored their plea.

After months of deadlock, armed riot police stormed the town earlier this week leaving at least two dead and dozens of people missing and wounded.

  • Greg Berger, Documentary filmmaker living in the state of Morelos in Mexico.
    Send an Email to the governor of Morelos, Mexico.

TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Local people clashed with the police in Morales, Mexico. The people there south of Mexico City declared themselves autonomous and seized the town hall after refusing to recognize the mayor since November. Armed riot police storm the town earlier this week, leaving at least two people dead, dozens are missing, and wounded. Yesterday we talked with Greg Berger, who is a documentary filmmaker living in the state of Morales.

GREG BERGER: An armed incursion by the state police of about 1,500 riot police stormed the town. There were snipers placed on buildings, a rain of bullets fell on the people who were holding the city hall as an autonomous municipality, and at least two people were killed. Many people were beaten. I personally spoke with several old women who were beaten in the face and body by the riot police. Many of the people from the town ran into the hills and are currently being chased with helicopters and police dogs through the woods. And the entire town is basically in a state of siege. We are asking that people contact the governor of the state of Morales to let him know that the international eyes are watching what’s happening. And that this cannot go by with impunity, and his email address is gobernador@morelos.gob.mx. Email the governor of the state of Morelos that you demand an immediate withdrawal of the police from the town. And call your Mexican consulate in your region if you can.

AMY GOODMAN: Greg Berger, documentary filmmaker living in the state of Morelos in Mexico

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