On January 27th, a press conference was held with representatives of the Tseltal Maya people of the municipality of Chilon, together with the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba) and the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh) who made it known that they had undertaken a “legal battle against the militarization of their territory.” They reported that they filed a claim for protection for the construction of a National Guard Headquarters in their territory, because they were not previously consulted.
During the press conference that was broadcast on social networks from the Frayba facilities, the representatives of the municipality of Chilon requested the “protection of federal justice against the construction of a National Guard barracks.” Likewise, they asked the Chiapas State Attorney General’s Office to desist from the criminal action against Jose Luis Gutierrez Hernandez and Cesar Hernandez Feliciano “who were repressed and criminalized for demonstrating against said project.”
They recalled that it is not the first time that the Tseltal people of Chilon have experienced the impacts of militarization on their territories, “particularly during the time of the armed conflict in the state of Chiapas, when in 1995 an army barracks was installed in their territory, which was not withdrawn until 2007 after years of organized resistance by the community.”
Faced with information about the construction of the barracks, which they learned about through the media, they decided to exercise their right to demonstrate, which in response found “a deployment of more than 300 elements of various security bodies, with the objective of stopping the mobilization, they used excessive force against the protesters. In the eviction, private vehicles were damaged and several people were injured; in addition to the isolation and subsequent deprivation of liberty of two people.”
The Tseltal people called the Fourth District Court in matters of Injunctions and Federal Trials based in Tuxtla Gutiérrez “to order the definitive suspension to avoid the risk of irremediable damage to their collective rights being consolidated before the continuation of the construction of the barracks.” They expected a resolution by the court for January 29.
For more information in Spanish:
Indígenas demandan a la Guardia Nacional por construcción de cuartel en Chilón (Chiapas Paralelo, 28 de enero de 2021)
Se amparan contra construcción de cuartel en Chilón (La Jornada, 28 de enero de 2021)
Pueblo maya tseltal del municipio de Chilón emprende batalla legalcontra la militarización de su territorio por medio de la imposición de uncuartel de la Guardia Nacional (Comunicado, 27 de enero de 2021)
For more information from SIPAZ: