The term bravo is frequently used to describe indigenous towns in the state of Chiapas, in which context it essentially means “wild.”
And wild is how things got yesterday in San Juan Chamula when a crowd of local citizens lynched two men accused of stealing a car.
The two had been arrested by local police and taken into custody, but angry residents took matters into their own hands and took the two prisoners by force.
Their hands tied, the two were marched to the town square and made to sit on a wooden seat surrounded by firewood. They were doused in gasoline and set on fire. The bodies burned for more than two hours while the crowd shouted and applauded in approval, according to Excélsior.
The victims had been accused of stealing a taxi at knife point two days before. However, one of the two, identified as Alejandro Pérez Velasco, director of a state farmers’ organization in the nearby community of Teopisca, was reportedly attempting to take back the vehicle, which he had sold. But the new owner had not completed payment.
Eighty state police officers in riot gear arrived in Chamula three hours after yesterday’s incident, too late to prevent the lynching. Manolo Rodríguez Hernández was taken into custody in connection with the incident.
Chamula, whose residents are mostly Tzotzil Maya, has a unique autonomous status with its own police force. It is located about 15 minutes from San Cristóbal de las Casas.