At least 18 journalists and human rights defenders documenting a protest near the International Airport of Mexico City (AICM), were attacked by the riot police during the day of protests that took place on Thursday in the capital, to demand justice for the disappearance of 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.
The #RompeElMiedo network, composed of media and human rights defenders, documented 18 attacks in the vicinity of the Airport including physical assaults and arrests.
ARTICLE 19 also noted other attacks on journalists occurred during the demonstration in the main square of Mexico City, where thousands gathered to demand justice for the disappearance of the 43 students on the occasion of the celebration of the 104th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.
Furthermore, it is known that after a clash between riot police and dozens of masked protestors in the vicinity of the Airport, a number of protestors were arrested. As of 21:00 on Thursday, officials of the Federal District have not reported the exact number of detainees.
From December 1st 2012 to date, ARTICLE 19 has documented that Mexico City is the most dangerous city in Mexico for the press, especially when documenting protests. In this context, there have been dozens of arbitrary arrests of journalists and peaceful participants in the protests, falsely accused by the capital police of engaging in violence.
For ARTICLE 19, the violence used by the Police of Mexico City on protesters and people documenting the protest violated human rights and is proof that the police do not have the necessary protocols to protect social mobilisation.
“We condemn the violence against journalists, protesters and police since attacks in any form hinder the exercise of the right to free speech,” said Dario Ramirez, Director of ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America.
ARTICLE 19 reiterates that protest is a legitimate and legal form of expression and as such must be protected.
ARTICLE 19 calls on the authorities of Mexico City to train their police to prevent further attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, comply with the law, ensure due process for detainees and respect at all times the rights of protestors and also those documenting the protest.