Seven indigenous Mixe women were arrested in Santa María Alotepec, Oaxaca, on Thursday morning for refusing to loan dishes from a community dining hall for a party being held by the mayor.
In a video that circulated on social media, the seven women can be seen locked up in a cell in the municipal palace.
According to a complaint by their relatives, the women work at a community dining hall that can be rented out for community events. However, they said the mayor did not follow the proper protocol to use the space or the dishes, so the women refused to loan them.
According to the newspaper El Universal, the decision to have the women arrested was made by Mayor José Galván and other officials who initially ordered the arrests of 40 women who work in the community kitchen.
However, the majority were able to escape and municipal authorities were able to arrest only seven.
The Oaxaca Human Rights Commission (DDHPO) made a ruling in favor of the women, and ordered that the municipality must guarantee their human rights.
“Peoples and communities have the right to autonomy, and to organize themselves according to their internal systems, in ways that revalorize their identities and diversity,” the DDHPO said. “However, these practices need to take care not to lead to actions or omissions that could put at risk the physical integrity or personal liberty of others.”
The Women’s Secretariat of Oaxaca asked the mayor of Santa María Alotepec to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the seven women.
The women were released around 8:00pm after an intervention by the state Government Secretariat.