“They chased our women and children, and detained our colleague Manuel Gomez Gomez, who is now in prison”. Representatives of 200 families ask for an open dialogue with the State government.
The Evangelical People of Altos of Chiapas Organization (OPEACH in Spanish) reported that on January 8th, evangelicals of the Las Ollas community were attacked by San Juan Chamula district´s traditional authorities, because they refused to cooperate in the organization of the Guadalupe Virgin Catholic festivities last December.
A total of 200 families are threatened.
In a press conference, Manuel Collazo Gomez, OPEACH leader, informed that the incidents happened the night of January 8th, in the Chamula district, when a group of people, lead by the municipal president, beat the evangelicals that did not cooperate for the Virgin´s festivities.
Collazo Gomez explained that the evangelicals have been helping and working in the community; and, even against their own ideas as evangelicals, they paid for the traditionalist Catholic events, in order to avoid conflict. But, because of the Virgin´s festivities, they were forced to make an extra payment of 250 pesos per family. They did not have this amount of money so they could not pay it.
Futhermore, municipal authorities and the local caciques have cut the water supplies of the evangelical families, and have sent the evangelical representative Manuel Gomez Gomez to prison in Chamula.
“Supposedly, starting Monday, children will not be able to go to school, education will no be a right for them anymore. Besides that, the government food assistance that the evangelical women received will be suspended, and they will not receive their annual aid for handcraft”, told Patricia Perez Diaz, another citizen who took part of the press conference.
EVANGELICALS LOOK FOR A DIALOGUE
“We had a meeting to immediately start a dialogue with the State government, and we agreed on having another meeting with San Juan Chamula´s mayor, but the caciques attacked our colleagues again, they chased our women and children and detained our colleague Manuel Gomez Gomez, who is now in prison” , added Perez.
At the same press conference, Patricia Perez Diaz reported that she was attacked by a group of armed and hooded caciques on January the 1st, when she was getting back home.
“They detained us because of our faith, and they forced us to cooperate with something that we consider idolatry. We think this is not fair, so we ask for justice to clarify everything and to live in peace again. There were 20 or 30 attackers, armed and hooded, and they were followers of the municipal president”, assured Patricia.