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Hundreds of riot police threaten occupation of illegal freeway in Mexico City

by Eric Doherty

Residents defend trees
Residents defend trees
Dec 10, 2010 Action Against Supervia
Dec 10, 2010 Action Against Supervia
Riot Police - Dec 11, 2011
Riot Police - Dec 11, 2011

Early on Sunday morning, Marcelo Ebrard the Mayor of Mexico City sent hundreds of riot police into a working class neighbourhood to evict occupiers and ensure that work can proceed on his pet freeway project, the “Supervía Poniente” which translates approximately as ‘Western Superhighway’. Residents of the neighbourhood Magdalena Contreras along with supporters from the Frente Amplio Contra la Supervía Poniente de Cuota en Defensa del Medio Ambiente (Broad Front Against the Western Superhighway and in Defense of the Environment) have mounted an occupation which has been ongoing for over a year.

On December 2nd, a panel of judges unanimously voided the environmental permit for the controversial Supervía $500 million highway project in Mexico City. The decision in favour of a coalition of environmental and human rights groups found that the environmental assessment for the P3 (private public partnership) project had not met the requirement for public consultation in article 50 of Mexico City’s Environmental Law.

This court victory confirmed a January decision by the Mexico City Human Rights Commission that found that the government should suspend construction until a public consultation was completed.  The commission found that the Supervia project violates "the rights to decent housing, a healthy environment, water, information, citizen participation, and legal security" and that rapid transit should be considered as an alternative.

Mayor Ebrard might not appreciate the irony of sending in riot police to ensure that public money goes to highway expansion rather than transit on the final day of international climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. The expansion of roads, and resulting automobile dependency, is one of the leading drivers of rising carbon emissions worldwide. The results of the weak agreement reached today are expected to be disastrous for countries around the world, including Mexico. The Guardian quotes Andy Atkins, of Friends of the Earth, saying: "This empty shell of a plan leaves the planet hurtling towards catastrophic climate change”.

It is time to step up the fight against climate crimes, including urban freeway projects such as the Supervia in Mexico City, the proposed re-building of the Turcot Interchange in Montreal, and numerous other highway projects around our fragile planet.

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edoherty (Eric Doherty)
Vancouver BC, Commercial Drive
Member since February 2010


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