Now Alberto Patishtan stands for all the indigenous in Mexico: When will our rights and culture be recognised? Someday? Never?
March in Chiapas for the release of Alberto Patishtán
About 400 people demonstrated in the town of El Bosque. During the rally held outside the town hall, a letter was read which is to be given to judges in Tuxtla Gutierrez, accompanied by more than three thousand signatures.
Elio Henríquez, correspondent, La Jornada, 10th April, 2013
El Bosque, Chiapas. April 10. About 400 people marched today in this town to demand the release of Patishtán Alberto Gomez, "unfairly" imprisoned for nearly 13 years.
"All the indigenous feel imprisoned, rejected and discriminated against," the protesters said in a letter to Freddy Gabriel Celis Fuentes and Manuel de Jesús Rosales Suárez, judges of the First Collegiate Court of the Twentieth Circuit, which will soon decide whether or not the teacher, sentenced to 60 years in prison, will be released.
"We know the teacher and know that he is innocent and we have demonstrated this through our actions and mobilizations in different parts of Mexico," they added.
"In your hands is justice or injustice, freedom or punishment, life or death, heaven or hell," the protesters, belonging to the El Bosque People's Movement for the Liberation of Alberto Patishtán, said to the judges.
The march began at 11 am on the outskirts of the San Juan Bautista church and after going through the streets of the town and the state highway for more than an hour, arrived at Central Park, where a rally was held.
"Alberto, hold on, the people are rising up", "freedom for political prisoners", "Alberto, friend, the people are with you", "freedom for Alberto Patishtán" chanted the indigenous men and women who participated in the movement in this town in the north of the state, where the indigenous teacher was born.
During the rally held outside the town hall, Martín Ramírez, one of the main drivers of the movement, read a letter that will be delivered on Thursday to the judges in Tuxtla Gutiérrez accompanied by more than three thousand signatures.
The protesters stated in the letter: "It is over 12 years since we started our movement and today we continue to seek justice; we have knocked on hundreds of doors and raised our demands with hundreds of people holding posts at different levels of government, but nobody has heard our voice, the voice of the indigenous people of Mexico."
They add: "Alberto Patishtán now stands for all the indigenous groups in Mexico and the world", but "we have realized that there is no room for the indigenous people of our country within Mexican laws", so that "we ask, "How long will it be before our rights and cultures are recognised? will it be someday or never?"
They said that at this stage of the struggle for the liberation of the indigenous Tzotzil, "we have the full support of the municipality of El Bosque and also the governor of the state himself, Manuel Velasco Coello, has spoken out in support of freedom" for the teacher.
"Honourable Judges: It is now up to you to hear our voices and our petition: We demand justice and the immediate release of Alberto, this has been our cry and will continue to be the echo of our voices until he wins his freedom. How much is lost by freeing an innocent man? How much is gained by condemning an innocent man? ".
The representatives of the protesters reported that a committee made up of 30 people will go tomorrow to deliver the letter to the judges, and their next action will be a pilgrimage to be held on the 19th of this month in Tuxtla Gutierrez.
Alberto Patishtán is imprisoned in the penitentiary of San Cristobal, accused of involvement in an ambush near this town in 2000, in which six state police officers and one from this municipality were killed.
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