Defending their lands and opposing the new airport in Mexico City!
British companies are involved!
In 2001, the indigenous common landholders of San Salvador Atenco in Mexico were successful in their fight against the building of a new airport in Mexico City on their ancestral farm lands. The Peoples Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) became emblematic for their highly symbolic machetes, and their determined resistance.
In May 2006, the government seized its chance to punish the community for defeating this megaproject. (Breaking the Seige, documentary here). Following an attack characterised by extreme police brutality and violent repression, 2 young people were dead, 26 women raped by the military police, many injured, and 217 people arrested. 9 leaders of the Atenco farmers were illegally sentenced to 31 years, 2 for 67 years, and one for 112 years. The people organised, and a national and international campaign for the liberation of the prisoners was launched with the support of the Zapatista-inspired Other Campaign; the prisoners were finally absolved and freed in 2010.
The man responsible for ordering this repression and the rape of the women was the former governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto. He is now the President of Mexico, and the Atenco issue was the shame of his presidential campaign. Two years later, on 3 September 2014, he announced the plans for a new, much larger, international airport in the same area to the east of Mexico City. The new airport will have six runways and be able to handle 120 million passengers a year, four times the capacity of the existing airport; it will cost an estimated £5.5 billion, and have an associated large scale urbanisation project, known as Future City.