They threaten to “act” if the local government fails to comply with respect for indigenous rights and 7 demands
By: Elio Henríquez
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
Yesterday, a self-defense group called the Armed Force of Simojovel  publicly announced its emergence for the purpose of demanding respect for human rights in that municipality, located in the northern part of the state of Chiapas, as well as the fulfillment of seven demands.
“This message is directed to the incoming (municipal) president, Gilberto Fidel Martínez Andrade (of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico) and to the groups that he heads, which we have identified,” it explained in a video recording. It pointed out that: “it’s well known that in previous administrations the municipal presidents did what they wanted and they all went unpunished.”
The community guard pointed out that they demand: “1) respect for our indigenous demands, 2) no more diversion of the people’s resources, 3) we will not permit hit men (sicarios) or armed drug traffickers, 4) zero tolerance for cantinas and clandestine drug sales, 5) No more deaths in the streets of Simojovel, 6) dignified medical care for the people in general and 7) that public safety is for the people and not the criminals.”
An “independent force, without political party”
The Armed Force of Simojovel, which they say is “an independent force, without political party,” warned that: “if these just demands are not met, we will act accordingly against the bad municipal government.”
In a video distributed through social networks, the self-defense group called the Armed Force of Simojovel announced its emergence. The above photo was taken from a video on Twitter
In the screen shot of the video recording distributed through the social networks, one observes a dozen men with high-power weapons, without uniforms, rubber boots, with caps and their faces covered with a paliacate (bandana), and a red flag in the background. One of them read a communiqué:
“Today we have formed the Armed Force of the People for the purpose of demanding respect for human rights; if we have not entered the town it’s out of respect and to safeguard the integrity of the citizenry, but we will take action soon if they don’t meet our demands.”
Tsotsil priest leaves the parish after 10 years
In other news, Catholics in Simojovel said goodbye this weekend to the Tsotsil priest Marcelo Pérez Pérez, who headed the parish for the last ten years. For that reason, a “celebration of the Holy Eucharist” took place on Saturday.
“We give thanks to God for life, peace and freedom in which he has allowed us to serve for 10 years in this blessed little town of Simojovel; God has asked me and the priest José Elías to serve in another place,” Father Marcelo said.
The Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas has not said to what parish it will assign Pérez Pérez, a native of San Andrés Larráinzar.
 Simojovel is one of the municipalities that borders on Pantelhó in the Chiapas Highlands (Los Altos de Chiapas).
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Monday, October 4, 2021
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee