Atenco’s women political prisoners speak out
Published May 23, 2006 11:10 PM
On May 3 and 4 in San Salvador, Atenco,
Mexico, flower vendors from People in Defense of the Land Front (Frente de
Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra) were attempting to use a space in the Texcoco
market to sell their flowers when state police brutally attacked them. The space
the vendors were attempting to occupy has been sold for the building of a new
Wal-Mart. Nevertheless, in the early hours of the next morning, May 5, they
moved to reoccupy their space.
For defending their space in the
market, protesters were met with vicious police violence that left two young men
dead and countless people injured. In addition, 217 prisoners have been detained
since the incident.
These prisoners have begun a hunger strike to
protest the conditions of their arrests and their inhumane treatment at the
hands of local police.
On May 19, demonstrations in support of the
Atenco uprising were held in 45 cities and 22 countries worldwide. These events
were in response to the call made by the Intergalactic Commission of the
Zapatista Army of National Liberation—EZLN—to organize an
international day of mobilizations.
Another day of solidarity is
planned for May 28 and is expected to draw even more supporters. Protesters are
being encouraged to demonstrate in front of Wal-mart stores and Mexican
consulates. Go to chiapas.indymedia.org for information on the May 28
Following is a letter from the women detained in Atenco
detailing their gruesome experiences:
We the women, workers in
the countryside and the city, housewives, students, etc., political prisoners
since May 3 and 4, are indignant over being sentenced to prison. We
weren’t just insulted, humiliated, beaten, tortured, sexually abused, and
raped—now are also prisoners, criminals.
We have lived through
repression; not just as people in struggle, but also as women, and in a very
specific way. Because even if the men were beaten more, we were sexually
attacked and raped. We were subjected to every kind of repression. During our
arrest, it started with insults: “You’re a whore! You damn whore! We
are going to rape you like the whore that you are!” But it wasn’t
enough for them just to beat us; they threatened to kill some of us, or to
disappear us. They even tortured us to get information about our families,
threatening to kill them too.
Nothing will cleanse us of the sexual abuse
and the rape. We were groped; had our hair pulled; were kicked; beaten with
sticks, clubs, and shields on our breasts, our rear ends, our genitals. While
they went on threatening us, we were bitten on our breasts, nipples, ears, lips,
tongues, etc. We were penetrated with fingers and objects. Some were forced to
perform oral sex, while they laughed at us for being women.
the abuses that we suffered, now we are also victims of medical negligence. Some
of us should have been bandaged and attended to since the day we arrived; some
of us have vaginal infections and infected wounds; and some of us can’t
even sit down for the wounds we suffered.
Despite all that, we are
still on a hunger strike, because we are not taking one step back in this
struggle. Because we want justice for everyone! Because we should keep
fighting, even from prison, so that’s what we are going to do. We will
have stayed, and will stay, on our feet in this struggle.
your voice! Whatever it takes to bring justice out of this deafness!
up also your reason and your wisdom! If our hands can’t do anything here,
inside the prison, then our words will. Give us back our freedom! We will see
justice done! For the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and for the
rapes! No one should stay indifferent to the pain that all of us have had to
endure! Freedom for Political Prisoners!
political prisoners, from below and towards the left, in struggle
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