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Zapatista Women Seize Radio Station
by Movement 2000 (maribel [at]
Thursday Sep 21st, 2000 10:07 AM
Zapatista women peacefully seized a radio station to demonstrate for the rights of women and indigenous Indians, on International Women's Day, March 2000.
In March, Movement 2000, independent media collective, reported:

as military and paramilitary activity against indigenous
communities increases

Despite intensified military mobilization and hostility in recent weeks, thousands of Zapatista women celebrated International Women\'s Day by
marching into the city of San Cristo\'bal de las Casas
and taking over a government radio station in order to
broadcast their call for an end to the militarization
of their communities. The women, who traveled from the
Lacandon Jungle, the highlands, the north of Chiapas
and the border with Guatemala, braved long journeys
through zones which are heavily patrolled by military
and paramilitary groups in order to participate in the
march. The women marched carrying their young
children, as well as banners of protest with drawings
of the military airplanes, tanks, and helicopters that
constantly harass their communities.

A group of 200 of the marchers peacefully occupied the
government radio station Radio Uno and broadcast for
one hour during the march. Maria Angelica, a tzeltal
woman from the Lacandon jungle explained to listeners
throughout the state, \"Many of us do not know how to
read or write, and for this reason we come so you all
can listen to us. We want you all to know that we will
not get accustomed to the militarization.\" The
broadcast, conducted in both Spanish and indigenous
languages, denounced military and paramilitary
violence against indigenous communities and called for
respect for the rights of women and fulfillment of the
Accords of San Andre\'s. The Zapatista support bases
declared, \"The militarization and paramilitarization
of our communities is now one of the principal causes
of the misery, poverty, sickness and the death of many
indigenous people. The military blockade, the daily
harassment, by land and by air, and the persecution of
us by the bad government, has been a grave obstacle
for the completion of our daily work, which is the
only way we indigenous people can survive.\"

In the last two weeks, as the women prepared to leave
their communities to march, military presence in all
three regions of resistance, the jungle, the
highlands, and the north, has increased drastically
in number and intensity. Community authorities have
declared extreme alert and have advised the population
to prepare for military attack. The bold military
advance into the communities in resistance in all the
indigenous territory of the state is marked by an
increase in army patrols, checkpoints, troop
mobilization and the reinitiation of paramilitary
group activities. As the military occupies more and
more communal lands, they arrive with heavy machinery
to build highways and army bases, thus destroying
acres of forest and jungle and contaminating rivers
and lakes.

A representative of the tzotzil highlands warns \"the
situation is grave. When there is military movement
like there is now, it means that at any moment
something could happen.\" Airplanes and helicopters
have been flying over the communities so low that they
scrape the roofs of the houses. A teacher reports that
in La Realidad, a helicopter hovered so low that is
seemed like it were going to land in the patio of the
elementary school. From within the helicopter, a
soldier videotaped inside the classroom. Similar
actions have occurred in other communities in recent
days. In Oventic, soldiers shoot into the air in the
afternoon and the paramilitary groups surround the
communities in the night. A community authority
explains, \"This means that want to provoke us,
threaten us for wanting to struggle peacefully. What
the government wants is an armed confrontation. We
will make sure that there is no response to the
government provocation. But nor will we accept being
humiliated by them, because the cause of our struggle
is fair and true.\"

The marchers held a meeting in the public plaza of San
Cristo\'bal de las Casas in which they declared,
\"We have not given up in our protest against the dirty
war of [President] Zedillo and [Governor] Albores. The
government continues to promote, protect and finance
paramilitary groups
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zapatistas describe new democraciesLow SparkFriday Sep 22nd, 2000 11:57 AM
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