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Indigenous Rights Activist Shot Dead in Chiapas; 3rd Killed In Less Than a Month

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“MX” for Borderland Beat; TY to “Anonymous”

Simón Pedro Pérez López
Simon Pedro Perez Lopez, an indigenous rights activist from Chiapas, was killed by gunmen on a motorcycle earlier this week. He is the third organizer to be killed in Mexico in less than a month.

Authorities confirmed that Simon Pedro was shot dead outside a market in Simojovel, Pantelho municipality, while he was with his son. He was a member of the Tzeltal Indigenous group and has been active in social justice efforts since the 1997 massacre of 45 indigenous people in Acteal.

“Simón Pedro was innocent, he fought peacefully,” Pérez said. “Let’s hope this will inspire people to wake up their consciences and fight for peace.”

After condemning the murder, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission urged the Chiapas Prosecutor’s Office to carry out an “efficient, prompt and impartial” investigation to find those responsible for Simon Pedro’s death.

The commission said in a statement that 12 activists have been killed this year.

1997 Acteal massacre
On 22 December 1997, over 100 gunmen from the Mascara Roja paramilitary group entered Acteal, which is part of Las Abejas rural community, and killed 45 Tzotzil men, women and children, including four pregnant women. Mascara Roja sought the eliminate indigenous groups who supported the Zapatista uprising.

Many of those killed were part of Las Abejas (The Bees), a pacifist Christian organization formed two years after the 1994 Zapatista movement. Although it opposed the goals of an armed struggle, it support the Zapatista’s goals of autonomy and indigenous control over land.

The perpetrators and masterminds of the attack remain at large. In the aftermath of the massacre, 79 people were arrested and convicted and given long prison sentences, but Mexico’s Supreme Court has released them individually or by groups of the years. As of today, no one involved in the massacre is currently behind bars.

No matter what the government does, we will continue our fight for justice,” Simón Pedro said.

“All we want is justice. We want the trial of those who ordered and carried out the massacre, and that the government recognize its full responsibility for the massacre.”


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