Vigilantes demand release of imprisoned team members in Mexico
MEXICO CITY — A top leader of a vigilante “self-defense” group in the western state of Michoacan on Friday gave the Mexican government an ultimatum: Free captured members of the movement by May 10 or expect chaos to break loose.
Jose Manuel Mireles said if members are not freed by the deadline, his organization will block towns and roads throughout the state just west of Mexico City. He also reiterated his refusal to obey government orders to lay down weapons.
There may be as many as 100 members in detention, as the government has sought to slowly dismantle the disparate organizations, Mireles said. Protests have included burning public vehicles and tearing down property.
May 10 was initially presented by President Enrique Pena Nieto's government as the date by which the “self-defense” groups of armed civilians should hand in their guns. Mireles indicated Friday he had turned the tables on the government, in a meeting Thursday, saying there would be no disarmament without the release of prisoners.
And even then, he said, it was essential that the government recognize the vigilantes, who popped up in Michoacan supposedly to counter the Knights Templar, a powerful drug and extortion gang, that had all but taken control of the state.
“It is not possible for us to go around unarmed and tranquil, because of the great risk of being hunted down,” Mireles said in a radio interview.
“We have asked the government to legalize the self-defense groups, under that name and independent of any other” local police forces, he added.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Turkish hostages freed from Islamic State, but questions linger
- Egyptian President al-Sisi feels vindicated in crackdown as Islamic extremists rise
- Scottish teens surprise in independence vote
- Ukraine’s pleas for lethal aid not heard
- NATO chief: Ukraine truce ‘in name only’
- Mementos unearthed at Nazi death camp in Poland
- Qatar sends arms to opposition, Libyan prime minister says
- Ukraine plan would give rebels self-rule to end fighting
- Al-Qaida’s South Asia wing claims 1st big strike
- Blasts kill dozens in Baghdad area
- Islamic State link with well-heeled companies or individuals targeted