On the morning of Wednesday, June 7th, the “civil society” of Tepoztlán, as Governor Graco Ramírez’s administration calls it, headed by Gabino Ríos and his hitmen, evicted the camp that the United Fronts in Defense of Tepoztlán and environmentalists held in the front of the gazebo at the entrance to the town.
“This morning, citizens of Tepoztlán decided to intervene to liberate an entrance to the municipality,” said the Graco Ramirez government in a bulletin, identifying as part of civil society Gabino Ríos, former mayor and now owner of a construction business linked to the extension of the La Pera – Cuautla highway, who with a group of hitmen and trucks appeared in the roundabout at 7am to evict the camp set up weeks ago when the ecocide occurred in which they felled more than three thousand trees.
In Tepoztlán, the tension could be felt in the air since dawn due to the possible repression and eviction. The ringing of church bells intensified, people left their homes. In a short period of time, a shock group led by former mayor Gabino Ríos appeared to intimidate and evict the camp.
People left their homes to march from the camp located in the entrance to the town towards the mayor’s office. Upon arrival, police and the shock group denied them entry. The demonstrators, members of United Fronts in Defense of Tepoztlán, tried to set up the camp next to the gazebo in hopes of having a dialogue with the authorities responsible for the ecocide, but were followed by the group of hitmen who, with blows and threats, also forced them to leave the area.
In a press conference, the United Fronts in Defense of Tepoztlán refuted the Morelos state government’s statement issued the same day claiming the highway is the decision of the citizens of Tepoztlán. “That is a lie; we cannot think it is the decision of the citizens to support a company evicting us in a violent and provocative way. If the state government considers the former official and now construction business owner Gabino Ríos and his hitmen to be civil society, it’s a shame. They are hitmen and are paid to do it. In front of them were different groups; we were women, children, activists, human rights defenders, students, environmentalists, who self-identify as a group opposed to development.”
“There was no reason to evict us because we were not blocking traffic. For a week the way had been clear; consequently they evicted a peaceful camp, a protest, not a blockade,” argued the members of the United Fronts in Defense of Tepoztlán.