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Mexico 🇲🇽

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Mexican students arrested, jailed for planting trees

Students and civic groups in Mexico have expressed outrage over the arrest and jailing of three students who tried to plant trees on formerly government-owned land that was sold to a private developer. The three were jailed this week in the western city of Guadalajara on charges of illegal land seizure and carrying weapons. The weapons charge apparently refers to the picks and shovels they used to dig holes for the trees at the site during a weeks-long protest in 2021. The students and local residents want a park on the large tract of land, not the high-rise luxury apartment building planned by developers. Many in Guadalajara were angered by the harshness of the charges against Iván Cisneros, Javier Armenta and José Rojas. “The excessive abuse of power against three young people who held a peaceful protest ... has reached a dangerous level that shows a lack of limits, and principles,” wrote Cesar Barba, the director of higher education at the University of Guadalajara. “Anyone who seeks justice is at risk of being put in jail.” The topic is touchy because the large plot in question used to be owned by the city and had been earmarked for a public park. But in a murky transaction in 2008, it was ceded to developers in exchange for public works that local media reported were never completed. Mexico’s cash-strapped municipal governments sometimes sign off on such land-for-building deals, but they are seldom transparent. And real estate developers can wield outsized influence and act unchecked in Mexico. Calls and messages to the developers’ offices for comment went unanswered. But the focus quickly shifted to Enrique Alfaro, the governor of Jalisco state, where Guadalajara is located, given the prosecutors’ zeal. Late Monday, Alfaro posted a statement saying the charges were justified, but that he would try to get the students out on a form of bail pending trial. “Nobody has been arrested for protesting,” Alfaro said, noting “the land that these young people say is a park, is not a park, it is private property.” The civic group Hagamos Jalisco said in a statement that the 2021 protest was peaceful. “The demonstration involved reforesting the area, passing out information to neighbors, and camping out in the area,” the group said. “Later, they were kicked out with excessive force and violence.” Keeping the students jailed until their court dates later this week “is a disproportionate measure, based on the lie that they had weapons,” the group said. Late Tuesday, Ricardo Villanueva, the rector of the University, wrote on his social media pages that the three had been released pending trial, apparently on a form of personal recognizance.

Do you agree?

29 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • Tabitha Kimani

    62 w

    Absurd.

    • Baraka Lenga Rutendeli

      79 w

      The system can not be serious. Free them

      2
      • Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui

        79 w

        @baraka_lenga_rutendeli Yes. They have their right to freedom of expression and protest.

        1
      • Rashid Kamau

        79 w

        This should be coming from a different planet, how does that even happen here in earth?

        2
        • Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui

          79 w

          @rashid_kamau 💯💯💯

          1
        • mercy nduta

          79 w

          How can a tremendous work be paid with an arrest? The student needs to be released.

          2
          • Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui

            79 w

            @mercy_nduta_984 Yes. As soon as possible.

            1
          • Daniel Waweru

            79 w

            Trespass they say but they should not give a blind eye to their intentions. Also, accusing them of having the so called "weapons" is clearly out of this world

            2
          • Tabitha Kimani

            79 w

            This is beyond shocking. I hope the matter is addressed and they get released immediately.

            3
            • Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui

              79 w

              @tabitha_kimani 👌🏾

              1
            • Peter Kamau

              79 w

              Their arrest isn't justifiable at all.How a public land landed onto the hands of a private developer must be have been a fishy deal that sparked anger and furry and thus prompted these students to protest and think of putting it into better use.

              1
              • Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui

                79 w

                @peter_kamau 💯

                1
              • Joyce Waturu

                79 w

                What ??? However much it was a trespass, the students need to be listened to. Their noble task of mending and fixing the climatic global fabric cant be ignored.

                3
              • Elizabeth Gathigia

                79 w

                That's so sad, seriously when did it became a crime to plant trees?? The should be released!

                2
                • Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui

                  79 w

                  @lizz_gathigia I am still wondering.

                  1
                • Saustine Lusanzu

                  79 w

                  They have to be released, fixing the broken planet is not a crime

                  4
                • Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui

                  79 w

                  "The topic is touchy because the large plot in question used to be owned by the city and had been earmarked for a public park. But in a murky transaction in 2008, it was ceded to developers in exchange for public works that local media reported were never completed."

                  5
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