Chiapas: Thousands March in Response to Death Threats
July 12 2014 – Simojovel de Allende Chiapas, Mexico
A pilgrimage of thousands of people was held on July 12 in Simojovel de Allende, Chiapas, Mexico in response to recent death threats, harassment and defamation directed at local priest, Marcelo Pérez Pérez, members of the Parish Council and village of Simojovel to publicly demand that relevant authorities return peace and tranquility to the public, close the canteens which are centres for alcohol, drugs and prostitution and stop the flow of arms into the town in the Northern Zone of Chiapas.
Among the key messages: Narcotraffickers – Do not destroy the people
Meanwhile community of Simojovel indicated that this is their fourth pilgrimage “to conquer our freedom again,” and warns that “in the midst of these death threats, we can not be silent, we can not be indifferent, we can not remain with arms crossed while witnessing so much suffering caused by corruption of the authorities."
The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) issued a statement that the population of the municipality and communities have pointed out the complicity of Chiapas government authorities with local chieftains, neglecting social demands, not proceeding with criminal investigations, not stopping violence or maintaining control of excessive alcohol and drug canteens in Simojovel.
Frayba presented the following requests to the Mexican government, national and international communities to ensure the safety of Father Marcelo and others currently under threat in the Simojovel Parish Council:
- Protect and ensure the life, personal integrity and security of Father Marcelo and those who make up the Parish Council
- Investigate and stop the acts of death threats, harassment, assault, defamation and criminalization against Father Marcelo and those who make up the Parish Council.
- Take action in an immediate, effective, prompt, serious, thorough and impartial manner, and punish the perpetrators of this current situation, to avoid events and/or damages which could be impossible to repair.
- Guarantee and respect the right to freedom of thought and free expression in the region which is one of the main rights that citizens have to express their concerns.
- Finally we call on the Christian community, as well as national and international solidarity, to show their support for the work of Father Marcelo Pérez, the Parish Council and the people in the region.
“We want liberty. Stop the arms trafficking.”