Police and National Guard Repress Protest Against Landfill in Cholula

Cover image: Residents of the Choluteca region of the Mexican state of Puebla protest on Monday, April 22, demanding the presentation of the Environmental Impact Report for the landfill. The authorities have refused to dialogue with the residents of the area affected by the irregular landfill. Photo: Radio Comunitaria Cholollan

Residents of the Cholula region of Puebla have been on constant alert and living through tense moments following a joint operation carried out by the state police and the national guard seeking to evict the blockade held down against the landfill located in San Pedro Cholula. The objective of the police and national guard operation was to remove the blockade and allow trash trucks from municipalities to enter the area to dump their waste.

The police escalated with aggressions against the population in resistance. “Shots were fired at protestors. It’s not clear whether they were from police or someone else,” said one of the witnesses who for security reasons preferred to remain anonymous.

This landfill, where a blockade has been set up since March 21, was formally closed by the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) on April 9, after evidence was presented by the Unión de Pueblos y Fraccionamientos contra el Basurero y en Defensa del Agua, showing the presence of waste leachates in well water used for human consumption.

You might also be interested in- Communities of the Choluteca Region Denounce the Contamination of Water Caused by Irregular Landfill Operation

However, shortly before the police operation on Tuesday, April 30, the Secretary of Government (SEGOB) of the State of Puebla, released a communique alleging that there was no “legal impediment” to the operation of the landfill in Cholula. The communique states that the reason for the closure has been “attended to and remedied,” and therefore, this implied, the lifting of the closure order from the agency, permitting the continuance of the operations in a regular manner.”

Inhabitants of these communities awaited a more violent attack from state forces. However, as of publication, the police didn’t return. Nonetheless, the situation remains tense with reports of various detentions and house searches, as well as people physically threatened in different communities.

Meanwhile, the environmentalists refuse to back down. They will not lift the blockade until the landfill is closed indefinitely. Furthermore, solidarity toward the activists hasn’t stopped, and neither has condemnation of the repression.

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