Photos and text by Luis Alonso Pérez
Minutemen. They call themselves citizen’s neighborhood watch along the border. For many people they are a hate group, vigilantes, or extremists. But one thing is sure: there are hundreds of them mobilizing from points around the country to the towns of Naco and Douglas, Arizona. They are armed and happy to show their hate towards what they call mobs of illegal aliens who endlessly stream across the United States border.
In response, men and women from both sides of the border got together on Border Field Park and Playas de Tijuana last Saturday April 2, to protest peacefully against the minutemen project, to remember the immigrants who have died while trying to cross the border and to express their rejection to the building of a third wall between Mexico and the United States, a proposition that could be passed as a part of new national security measures to protect the country from terrorists.
Activists, students and concerned Mexican and American citizens got together, displaying banners with messages like “no soy terrorista”, “stop the Minutemen” and “make friends, not fences”. They also put up colored crosses on the fence to remember the more than 3,000 immigrants who have died since the operation Gatekeeper began in 1994.
The event was organized by the Border Angels in coordination with environmental protection organizations, a collaboration intended to raise awareness over the impact the new national security measures could have on the environment, and reflect about the intolerance, fear and hatred our society can portray through a project like Minutemen.
Enrique Morones, fouder of the Border Angels said that Tijuana and San Diego are a single community and cannot tolerate a group like this one. “These vigilantes and terrorists are violating the security, human rights and dignity of immigrants”.
These “vigilante” groups aren’t new, in the eighties “hate groups” hunted immigrants in the border areas like San Ysidro, near Colonia Libertad and in Playas de Tijuana. The border area where the protestors where standing was called “sacred land” during the meeting, the place where the lives of immigrants where taken by violent radical groups.
Nature conservancy activists spoke out against the building of a third wall. Jim Peugh of the San Diego Audubon Society expressed his concern over anti immigrant propositions, made in order to protect national security.
“Since September 11, many of our human rights have been threatened in the name of national security… now every type of wall or barrier could be built. We cannot let them destroy the Tijuana river bank”.
Citizens from both sides of the border are still upset, so this weekend civil groups from San Diego and Tijuana are organizing a trip to Arizona so join in a peaceful protest against the minutemen project on April 9th. They will also attend a meeting of the Institute of Mexicans in the Exterior on April 10th, to discuss the problems on the Mexico and United States border.
For more information about the Arizona protest or the Border Angels association visit their web site www.BorderAngels.org