A hundred Tzotzil people displaced by violence, accompanied by a group of children, marched through the main streets of Tuxtla Gutiérrez on Friday, demanding the safe return of missing persons and justice.
The contingent left the municipality of San Pedro Chenalhó early in the morning to gather in front of the “5 de Mayo” park in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.
Holding banners, the victims of forced displacement and their children, armed with pots and sticks, began to walk.
The banners read: “We are displaced; once again, we come to manifest our suffering. Almost a year has passed with no solution, no security, no reparation of the damage,” “justice,” and “we demand dialogue with the state and federal governments.”
As they walked, the children and adolescents made noise with kitchen utensils as a sign of protest. Upon reaching the municipal palace, they held a rally.
This is the second time this year that this contingent of Tzotzil indigenous displaced people has taken to the streets of Chiapas to march.
Manuel Gómez Velazco, one of the 246 indigenous people forcibly displaced since September 2022, told EFE, “The state government of Chiapas wants to stall, but we demand the arrest of the culprits, the search for the five missing people, the disarmament in Santa Martha, and the imprisonment of the guilty.”
He claimed that the village is “heavily armed” and said, “We know it; they have weapons exclusive to the army. That’s why we are demanding justice from the government.”
Nearly a year after that terrible incident that lasted over a week, the memories of Margarita Velazco still haunt the women and children. She fled with two of her children, leaving one daughter behind, whom she cannot see or talk to due to death threats.
“Why did they come to my house? They came armed and shot. We fled with the two children, that’s why we’re running away from Polho, suffering from hunger, from thirst. We don’t have enough water to wash ourselves or bathe, there is none to drink,” she expressed.
The Tzotzil woman added that it is difficult to enter the community one year after the incident. “We cannot enter because the entire road, the highways, are guarded,” she said.
She also mentioned that when she tries to communicate with her daughter, María Luisa, she receives death threats. “That’s why I don’t want to talk. I need, I need them (the authorities) to resolve it, I need justice,” she stated.
The peaceful march concluded with a sit-in in front of the state government palace in Chiapas until their demands are addressed. They also called for the intervention of the United Nations (UN).
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