During the morning of 21 December, in observance of the change in Baktún, or the beginning of the new Mayan era, thousands of indigenous support-bases affiliated with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) concentrated themselves at the entrances of 5 cities in Chiapas (San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Palenque, and Las Margaritas) before carrying out silent marches through each one. This was understood as a symbolic act, given that some of these cities were taken by the EZLN during its insurrection of 1994. On this occasion, covered with ski-masks but lacking firearms, carrying the national flag and the Zapatista one together, the Zapatistas directed themselves to the principal plazas of these cities, where they erected kiosks which were raised by all. After this, they left as rapidly and orderly as they entered. Preliminary reports spoke of 6 to 10,000 Zapatistas in each location.
Zapatista march in Palenque, 21 December 2012 (photo @SIPAZ)
The “silent” message presented by these marches could hardly be more convincing, demonstrating the continued life and relevance of the movement, as well as showing that it is not principally based on its leadership. The communique released by the General Command (announced for a month beforehand on the Enlace Zapatista webpage) makes reference to the rigorous silence that was maintained during the day, noting: “Have you heard? It is the sound of their world collapsing. It is the sound of ours resurging.”The EZLN support-bases had not mobilized themselves publicly since May 2011, when they expressed their solidarity with the victims of the war launched by Felipe Calderón against drug trafficking and with the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, led by the poet Javier Sicilia.
For more information (in Spanish):
Marchan zapatistas en Ocosingo, Las Margaritas y San Cristóbal (Proceso, 21 de diciembre de 2012)
Movilización silenciosa de zapatistas en Chiapas (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2012)
Zapatistas se movilizan en Chiapas en el inicio de la nueva era maya (CNN México, 21 de diciembre de 2012)
Zapatistas muestran su presencia en Chiapas (El Universal, 21 de diciembre de 2012)
Marcha zapatista en Palenque en el fin del Baktun 13 (El Independiente, 21 de diciembre de 2012)
Hubo orden en las marchas del EZLN, informa gobierno estatal (La Jornada, 23 de diciembre)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Mexico: Marches for Peace with Justice and Dignity (12 May 2011)
Mexico: National march “We are fed up” (14 April 2011)