Local authorities in Mexico City have reportedly forcibly evicted protesters from the Triqui indigenous community, who for more than a year have been camping in Mexico City’s main square after paramilitary groups chased them from their land in southern Mexico.
The community, which camped along Benito Juarez Avenue, one of the main entrances to Mexico City’s historic center and National Palace, was disbanded in the early hours of Monday morning and its members moved to a ” improvised shelter.
According to the Triqui People and the National Indigenous Commission, local police expelled the protesters from the camp without notice. Different organizations have denounced the displacement as an act of repression by the authorities, with community members reporting injuries and some having lost property.
“When the grenadiers lifted the blockade, they pushed and jostled our comrades, threatening them. Once we arrived at the supposed shelter, where we had no roof, we realized that the place was set up in a parking lot where a local market was using it as a dump. The trucks came with our things and threw them on the ground like they were garbage.
said Isabel Martínez of the Triqui Community.
On Tuesday, the community was reportedly relocated to a makeshift “shelter” assembled by the local government, with police containing more than 16 women, 12 children and two men inside the designated location.
According to the indigenous community, any attempt to flee was met with force, sparking clashes between armed police and displaced protesters.
Different organizations and politicians have spoken out on the issue and some have called the movement of protesters a “kidnapping”.
Mexico City Senator Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria denounced the government’s alleged “refuge” and “repressive” measures on his Twitter account, calling the facility where the protesters were transferred a “dump”.
After 40 hours of confinement, the president of the Mexico City Human Rights Commission, Nashieli Ramirez, negotiated the transfer of members of the Triqui community to the headquarters of the Mexican Student Movement.
Video of Ms. Ramirez announcing the agreement between the government and the people of Triqui.
Martí Batres, Mexico City’s interior secretary, denied allegations of forced eviction and repression, saying the move was made for health and safety reasons, saying reports of malnutrition among children of the camp and health violations were the reasons behind the dissolution of the camp.
The official also claimed that the Triqui community had voluntarily left their camp and that the conflict between them and the authorities had been fomented by outside political groups.
The Triqui displacement of Oaxaca
In late December 2020, the Triqui community, originally from the southern state of Oaxaca, woke up to the sound of gunfire when paramilitary forces took control of their territory in the small towns of Tierra Blanca and Copala, forcing hundredss in exile. 
“At 8 a.m. the shooting started. During the attack, my brother-in-law was killed and his three children were injured. We decided to come here. We had nowhere to go,” explains Ms. Eloina Martinez Triqui, wife of Tierra Blanca.
As a result, the Independent Movement for the Unification and Struggle of the Triqui (MULTI) was formed, urging President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to help liberate their territory from paramilitary groups who had seized their lands to maintain control political and economic.
The Triqui struggle in Mexico City is not an isolated event; internal migration in the country has been largely fueled by cases of forced displacement at the hands of criminal and paramilitary organizations.
According to the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), Oaxaca is one of the most significant examples where displacement was mainly motivated by paramilitary violence and state intervention.
In 2020, an estimated 4,077 indigenous people were forcibly displaced from their territories. In Oaxaca alone, five indigenous communities have been displaced, representing 33% of all displaced indigenous people in Mexico. Only the southern state of Chiapas has a higher percentage of displaced indigenous people (50%).
The report notes that the Triqui community is one of the most affected by the violence. To date, 35% of its population has been displaced.
“We have asked the government to support us one way or another, and they cannot give us that. We don’t want money. We demand justice for those who have been killed. All we want is to go home.
said Ms. Eloisa Martínez.