Communal landowners in El Zapote, Jalisco, are protesting again today in their long-running dispute with authorities over land that was expropriated for the Guadalajara airport in 1975.
Ejido member Evangelina Vega Pedroza told a press conference yesterday that marches would start at 8:00am and continue throughout the day on the Chapala highway between Guadalajara and the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport.
She also warned people intending to travel on the road to expect delays.
The newspaper Milenio reported this morning that traffic had already started backing up and that the protesters blocked access to the airport’s parking lot for 15 minutes.
The landowners charge that authorities are not listening to them despite recently being granted two injunctions confirming that 51 hectares of land where an airport expansion is planned belongs to them.
The injunctions also ordered the definitive suspension of construction work on the site.
However, the head of the federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) in Jalisco said on April 18 that the land in question belongs to the federally-owned corporation Aeropuertos y Sevicios Auxiliares.
Personnel from the state Attorney General’s office are currently guarding the site, where a second airport terminal is slated to be built.
Landowners said yesterday that protests will continue until the officials leave the site, located in Presa San José.
They are also demanding the resignation of state Interior Secretary Roberto López Lara who they claim is attempting to pay off legal authorities, including judges, in order to secure the right to use the land.
Over the years, the ejidatarios have received several compensation payments but claim that the government didn’t finish paying the full amount to which they are entitled.
Former El Zapote ejido president told Milenio that today’s protest is against the dispossession of the 51 hectares at Presa San José as well as the government’s failure to fully compensate them for 307 hectares of expropriated land.