Photo By: Víctor Camacho, La Jornada
Hundreds of members of the self-defense groups began to peacefully enter Apatzingán, considered to be a stronghold of the Caballeros Templarios, this morning.
Unarmed, the groups moved towards the county seat through different access points such as the road connecting Tepalcatepec, and also the one connecting Múgica, Parácuaro and Morelia.
Hipólito Mora, leader of the self-defense groups in La Ruana, headed the advancement of the self-defense groups. Mora entered the city around 11:00 hours, accompanied by 100 members of the self-defense groups.
Meanwhile, Commandante Cinco, who is located in Chendio, around five kilometers from Apatzingán, with around 300 members of the self-defense groups waiting to enter the city, was upset because Hopólito Mora had entered the city.
The Federal Police confirmed the implementation of a special operation to ensure the safety of the members.
Ground patrols as well as helicopter patrols were reported in the city in anticipation of attacks on the self-defense groups by members of organized crime.
Five helicopters belonging to the military and the air force fly overhead.
It was reported that so far at least 17 alleged “hawks” have been arrested.
The shops in the center of Apatzingán have closed fearing clashes are imminent.
In the entrances and exits of the city, federal forces, members of the self-defense groups, and community police have set up checkpoints.
Medical institutions of the federal, state, and municipal government, as well as the House of the Constitution of 1814, are guarded by federal forces.
Hipólito Mora said that the arrival of the self-defense groups to the municipality have been arriving since 8:00 in the morning.
Mora met with members of the City Council (“Cristos, consejo ciudadano responsable de impulsar el sano tejido del orden social” ) (Cristos, City Council Responsible For Promoting A Healthy Social Order), a group led by the pastor of Apatzingán, Gregorio López.
Father Goyo met with Mora at 11:30 hours at the cathedral of the county seat and will remain there until 17:00 hours. Father López put aside the belligerent speech against the Caballeros Templarios and said that he and the church members will participate peacefully and that the arrest against the criminals should be left to the federal forces. “Some 500 community guards are supporting the federal police and the military to clean up this town and detain the criminals; they aren’t armed and are only backing up the feds”
Hipólito Mora commented briefly inside the cathedral, that they weren’t armed and that their presence is peaceful. “We will not participate in raids or arrests or any security operation. We only came to accompany the Father.”
The Civil Defense Council hosted an informational meeting this afternoon in the main square to ensure the safety of the city and invite people to join.
At 5:00 pm Father Gregorio will offer mass in the cathedral to give a speech to the people to support the self-defense groups.
Photo from Valor Por Michoacán SDR's Facebook page
It has also been reported that the brother of Enrique Plancarte “El Kike” has been arrested at a checkpoint by federal forces and self-defense groups.
Sources: Proceso, La Jornada,