Mexican protesters sit in jail…

About a year ago I did an interview with Amina Sherazee, who is one of that rare group of activist/lawyers of tremendous integrity. In the interview, Amina pointed out something that a lot of folks forgot: that there had been escalating repression against movements in the Americas before 9/11, in North America particularly against ‘anti-globalization’ protesters. That repression continues, of course. A recent ‘anti-globalization’ protest in Guadalajara, Mexico, was repressed harshly, and several dozen Mexican activists still sit in jail, having been abused by authorities. They have initiated a hunger strike, with all the risks that that entails. I got this note in the mail from activist Jessica Pupovac, who compiled it.

June 7, 2004

information compiled by Jessica Pupovac,

May 26-29, the Latin American -European Union Summit convened in Guadalajara, Mexico to expand international cooperation advancing the goals of free-market capitalism. As they set about to do so with no space for democratic participation or transparency, the faithful opposition arrived from all corners of the Americas and Europe to share information, network, and let their leaders know that they do not intend to give them the last word. A week of forums, panels and music culminated in the march of four thousand activists through central Guadalajara and was met with violent repression. One week later, 33 activists remain imprisoned, and reports of violent psychological and physical torture are slowly making their way out of the jail cells and to their international community of supporters. Those involved are calling for immediate action on the part of the global anti-capitalist movement, as well as “democracy-lovers” everywhere, to ensure that such human rights abuses – and attempts to violently silence opponents of failing economic ideals – will not go unnoticed or unpunished.

Unprovoked police harassment was rampant from the onset of the events in Guadalajara. On May 28, as out-of-towners began setting up camp at the Parque Juarez, a camping site they were guaranteed by Municipal President Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, they were surrounded by anti-riot police and detained from 6pm Thursday night until 3 am the following morning. The activists were not allowed to leave the park to find food, water or restrooms.

The following day, a large march drew over 4,000 labor union leaders, farmers, students, teachers and other concerned parties and was met with tear gas, beatings and mass arrests. Later on that evening up until 1 pm, police continued to arbitrarily arrest activist “types” from local restaurants, streets and parks. Some were even arrested from the Red Cross, where they had fled to receive medical treatment for injuries incurred at the hands of police earlier that day. In the end, 95 people were arrested or disappeared.

The activists were taken to five different jails and 2 different hospitals. The authorities refused to release their names or allow them access to lawyers until Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Foreigners (from Australia, Italy, Spain, Canada and the US) were deported. However, Mexicans, particularly those from the capital, were not so lucky. For some, it was not until early Sunday morning that they were given food or water. Dehydration is becoming so severe that prisoners are reportedly removing buttons from their clothing and sucking on them to produce saliva. Many report severe beatings, humiliation (both men and women were forced to strip publicly and threatened with rape) and torture, including electric shocks to the genitals. Many were forced to sign false confessions incriminating themselves of offenses such as robbery, assault, property damage and inciting a riot. Many were shown police photos of movement leaders and threatened with more torture if they did not tell everything they know said individuals. Two prisoners who have refused to give any information or sign false confessions are covered with bruises and open wounds. Fourteen of the political prisoners have been denied bail. Others are expected to pay from 25,000 to 200,000 pesos to gain their freedom.

One woman, Liliana Galaviz Lopez, a photographer with the local Independent Media Center (or IMC, created to provide coverage of the Summit and counter-mobilizations), was taken to the hospital on Monday, May 29, due to injuries suffered during and after her arrest. She is currently being treated for “trauna craneocefalico,” or cranial trauma and brain damage. The Guadalajara IMC has been the target of continuing police harassment and was surrounded by ‘Preventitive Police’ forces for days following the march.

Despite multiple demonstrations in Guadalajara and Mexico City, as well as solidarity actions carried out Friday, June 4 in Barcelona, San Fransisco and Chicago, 33 of the detainees are still in jail and 10 of them have been on hunger strike since Friday, June 4. Local actions and letters of support are urgently needed. The Mexican government, as well as all governments that find it acceptable to silence dissent through brute force, must be made to know that the global network opposed to their policies of greed and exploitation is growing in size, momentum and coordination and such violent supression not only fails to deter us, it makes our convictions all the stronger.

**To donate to the legal defense fund, please go to

**To find more information, go to

**To tell the Mexican Consulate/Embassy nearest you that you are furious, please see below.

There will be a march today (Monday, June 7) in SAN FRANCISCO at 4pm beginning at the Convergence Center at 960 Howard St. (bet. 5th & 6th) and marching to the Mexican consulate at 535 Folsom St. (at 2nd St.). Please use the sample letter below, or write one of your own, and email, fax or call in your complaints to the Mexican embassy in DC as well as your local consulate (Chicago sample letter below – For all others, call the Embassy in DC at 202.728.1600 or go to

Mexican Consulate Information:
204 South Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL
Phone: 312.738.2383 Fax: 312.491.8981
Consul: Ing. Carlos Manuel Sada Solana

Dear Ing. Carlos Manuel Solana,

We the undersigned are presenting this letter to the Mexican Consulate of Chicago to be forwarded to President Vincente Fox as well as the Governor of Jalisco out of great concern for the persons who were arrested in connection with the protests that took place in Guadalajara, Mexico at the EU/Latin American Summit this past week. We are outraged by reports of sexual and psychological torture inflicted on the detainees. This is unacceptable behavior for a civilized democratic country. Thousands of organizations and individuals throughout the world aware of these atrocities. We know that Mexico has a deep concern for the human rights of all people and expect immediate action to correct the situation.


FIRST- The immediate release of every prisoner and the halt of any legal procedure against them.

SECOND- That an investigation into the abuse of state power in Jalisco be initiated immediately so that the perpetrators of these grave violations of human rights do not go unpunished.

THIRD- The immediate end of all actions of intimidation that have been carried out against the prisoners, their families, and those who have already been released.

FOURTH- We demand that the physical integrity of all the prisoners is guaranteed and the immediate end of any type of torture that has been carried out against them.

FIFTH-The organizations hereby present, as well as the families of the prisoners, put direct responsibility on the President of the United States of Mexico, Vicente Fox Quesada and the Governor of Jalisco, Francisco Ramírez Acuña, in terms of the physical integrity of the prisoners and their families as part of a general repressive strategy used by the government apparatus.

SIXTH- That the participation of the defense lawyers is permitted.


Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction.