Students join international women’s protest

Mark Rivera

In honor of International Women’s Day, about 30 City members of Amnesty International and Visionary Feminists Club gathered at the Mexican Consulate on 1549 India St., March 8, to protest the crimes against women that occurred in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico in 2006.

In May of 2006, residents of Atenco attempted an annual ritual of selling flowers in a local market on the eve of Mother’s Day. Despite having received permissions to sell from their local government, they were faced with police demanding they leave the market place.

When residents refused to leave, police retaliated with clubs and tear gas, which lead to more public opposition.

The opposition was then followed by federal, state, and municipal police invading Atenco, killing two men, and arresting 106 residents, including 47 women.

Of the 47 women, 26 have reported being mentally, physically, or sexually tortured during their detention.

Women across the country belonging to Amnesty International USA and other organizations took March 8 as a day of protest, at all major city Mexican consulates.

They claim the Mexican Government have ignored the allegations and no formal reprimands have been given to those who participated in the crimes.

The student protestors gathered in front of the Mexican Consulate, brandishing poster boards with phrases in both English and Spanish, stating “Justice for the Women of Atenco,” “Women United against Corrupt Governments” and “Never Forget Atenco.”

They protested for three hours, chanting demands the Mexican Government grant justice to those women who were abused verbally, violently and sexually.

“It was really a horrific event,” Hannia Hudez, a member of Associated Students and Amnesty International, said. “So that’s really what we’re here for: justice.”

“The Mexican government is perfectly aware of what they did and still has done nothing,” Paola Martinez of Amnesty International said. “We’re here so that people can recognize what (the Mexican Government) has done and take action.”

During the protest outside of the Mexican Consulate, Alberto Diaz Gonzalez, spokesman for the Mexican consulate, came out to speak with the protesters.

He stated that the only thing he could do is send a letter to the proper individuals regarding their concern. When asked by the students if he felt for the women of Atenco, and what he would do if the same had been done to his own family, Gonzalez remained unmoved and did not comment.

During the interview, an assistant to Gonzalez took pictures of each of those who participated in the protest and not long after the San Diego police arrived to ask that they all stay on the side walk.

“He is trying to intimidate us by taking pictures, but it’s not working, we are not in Mexico. He can’t do anything to us for being here protesting,” Naomi Santa Cruz, Visionary Feminists club member, said. “We are here celebrating women by demanding justice.”