(TMU) — A group of angry farmers in southern Mexico captured the mayor of their village before dragging him through the streets while tied to the back of a truck after villagers claim that he failed to deliver on major election campaign promises.
Police eventually freed Jorge Luis Escandón Hernández, the mayor of Las Margaritas municipality in the state of Chiapas, who suffered no major injuries following the violent ordeal.
El Heraldo de Mexico reports the mayor was abducted Tuesday by an angry group of protesters armed with clubs and rocks, who tied him to the back of a pickup truck before dragging him through the streets as a mob ran after him.
Footage of the incident has since gone viral.
Following the incident, a violent confrontation broke out between the group and local police, leaving about 10 people injured. The state attorney general’s office said that eleven people were arrested, according to Milenio.
Eight hours following the incident, the mayor appeared in the local square and said that he would hold leaders of the Santa Rita community responsible. Mayor Escandón said that he would not be intimidated by the violence and he intends to press charges.
The CCTV footage of the incident can be seen here:
Habitantes de la comunidad Santa Rita Invernadero amarran y arrastran con una camioneta al alcalde de Las Margaritas, Jorge Luis Escandón, a quien exigen proyectos productivos y rehabilitación de un camino. pic.twitter.com/G77v99uM7v
— Ámbar Noticias (@AmbarNoticias) October 8, 2019
Farmers are furious that the politician, who authorities say is “safe and sound and being reviewed by medical experts,” had made promises to improve the social infrastructure of the rural village.
Since elected, farmers have demanded that he deliver on his pledges to repair local roads and bring drinking water and electricity to the poor village.
In a previous incident four months ago, another group of men showed up at his office and ransacked it after finding it empty.
Así estuvo el enfrentamiento de trabajadores del ayuntamiento contra habitantes de Santa Rita Invernadero para rescatar e impedir el secuestro del alcalde Jorge Luis Escandón, que pretendían llevárselo secuestrado pic.twitter.com/KRbaOQIjPk
— PortavozChiapas (@PortavozChiapas) October 8, 2019
Chiapas is one of the wealthiest states in Mexico due to its mineral resources and is also a significant base of operations for domestic mining giants and also those from Canada, the U.S., Japan, China and Europe. In addition to it being a major source of gas, oil, wood, and water, Chiapas is also a lucrative source of gold, silver, amber, uranium, aluminum, iron, and one of the most coveted resources in the globe – titanium.
However, local populations have complained of being dispossessed as open-pit mining, logging, tunnels, and large pools of toxic wastewater contaminate their once-communal lands.
The state is a hotbed of social unrest and organizing by local militant groups and left-wing social movements such as the ‘Zapatista Army of National Liberation’ (EZLN) and the ‘National Front for the Struggle for Socialism’ (FNLS), who have frequently clashed with state security forces and faced repression in recent years.
In the case of Las Margaritas, it appears that the attempted capture of the mayor followed a long period of seething tension between authorities and angry locals, who have gone so far as threatening city council members to ensure they do their part to improve conditions for poverty-stricken communities.
Since the incident, schools and businesses have shut their doors. On Wednesday, elements of the newly-created National Guard also arrived in the city to reinforce security.