People protesting

The street in front of Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior was filled Friday afternoon in solidarity with the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). The peaceful, youthful crowd was made up of mostly organized contingents of long-time Zapatista supporters from Mexico City’s humble neighborhoods, including many indigenous groups.

The Sunday before, the EZLN made a public communiqué warning that the state of Chiapas is “on the verge of civil war,” denouncing “actions and omissions of the state and federal governments regarding” recent kidnappings, murders and detentions.

In Mexico City, this reporter counted about three thousand protesters of many of the country’s ethnicities responding to the EZLN’s call made only the day before to march and protest to this downtown building — the equivalent to the U.S.’s State Department or the U.K. Home Office. Protests were likewise held in cities across the country and at Mexican embassies around the world.

Simultaneous with the march, a contingent took over the Chiapas state offices here in the nation’s capital.

Left of center in the photo, some members of the women’s contingent of the Otomí group can be seen proudly wearing the green dresses of their ethnic identification. Their young representative was the most moving among the speakers at the brief event, barely containing her fury. Other original peoples wore their ethnic attire

The only daily newspaper somewhat favorable to human rights issues is La Jornada. Its mere two sentence report greatly undercounted the number of participants, accompanied by a handful of photos.

The EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) called for mass protests around the country and at Mexican embassies around the world tomorrow, Sunday September 26th, which will be the seventh anniversary of the tragic disappearance of 43 students of rural education from Ayotzinapa, in Guerrero state.

English version of the communiqué Chiapas on the Verge of Civil War

Original Spanish version of the communiqué

Website of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), Spanish only.

The author grew up in central Ohio, and has lived for three decades in Mexico City.