International mobilization for Oaxaca

Thousands of supporters of the Popular People’s Assembly of Oaxaca again took to the streets of southern Mexico’s Oaxaca City Dec. 22 to demand the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz, as well as the release of “political prisoners” arrested in the protests and the withdrawal of federal police from the city. (La Jornada, Dec. 23) It was part of an international mobilization, with protests in solidarity with the APPO reported from some 35 countries around the world, including the USA, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Greece, Argentina, Brazil and Peru. (La Jornada, Dec. 23)

Federal authorities continued their gradual release of arrested protesters. Another 20 were released Dec. 21, bring the total released within the past five days to over 60. This leaves some 75 of those detained in the Nov. 25 violence in Oaxaca City still behind bars. (La Jornada, Dec. 22)

APPO also officially protested the creation of new Oaxaca local by the National Syndicate of Education Workers (SNTE). APPO charged that the SNTE’s creation of a Section 59 for the state was a move to undercut the traditional Section 22, which had supported the protests. (El Universal, Dec. 23)

Sources archived at Chiapas95

See our last posts on Mexico and the struggle in Oaxaca.

  1. Further details…
    From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 24:

    On Dec. 22 thousands of supporters of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) marched in Oaxaca city, capital of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, to mark seven months of militant protests against the state government. The march followed after a crackdown which started on Oct. 29 and included the arrests of hundreds of APPO leaders and members. “This is a movement of the grassroots, not of leaders,” APPO negotiating committee member Juan Sosa Maldonado told the marchers. Government authorities trying to break the movement by arresting leaders “have made a big mistake,” Sosa said, “and the people will condemn them.”

    The Oaxaca protests started on May 22 with a strike by 70,000 teachers and staff in Section 22, the state branch of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE). After Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz attempted to rout a sit-in by teachers with a massive police operation, the strike grew into a much broader movement that paralyzed much of the state capital. On Oct. 29 some 4,500 agents from the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) seized control of the city’s downtown area and began the crackdown against the movement.

    The rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), based in the neighboring state of Chiapas, declared Dec. 22 the International Day of Mobilizations for Oaxaca; the date also marks the anniversary of the massacre of 45 indigenous campesinos in Acteal, Chiapas, in 1997. EZLN solidarity activists and others held demonstrations in 37 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Peru and the US, to demand respects for Oaxacans’ human rights and the removal of Gov. Ruiz.

    Some 200 people marched in the center of Barcelona in a heavy rain; Spanish activists also demonstrated in Salamanca, Seville and Valencia. Among the hundreds of marchers in Paris were a number of Mexican immigrants; undocumented immigrants had been occupying a university in the Paris region for several days. There were also protests in Grenoble, Lille, Marseille, Nantes and Toulouse. About 100 people held a sit-in outside the United Nations offices in Rome to protest the violation of activists’ human rights in Mexico. In Germany activists protested in Bremen, Cologne and Wuppertal. Other protests were held in Athens, Greece; Brussels, Belgium; and Vienna, Austria. (La Jornada, Dec. 23)

    Twenty people have died since June 2 as a direct or indirect result of the crisis in Oaxaca, according to a preliminary report the official National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) released on Dec. 18. Eleven deaths, including that of New York-based independent journalist Brad Will, resulted directly from confrontations. A total of 370 people had been injured and 349 had been arrested, the CNDH said, and it had received 1,211 complaints of human rights violations by government agencies. “The parties [to the conflict] and the Federal Preventive Police, which intervened to restore public order, used violence repeatedly and excessively. As a consequence, the institutional, social and cultural life of the state has been hurt,” the report charged. (LJ, Dec. 19)

    On Dec. 20 all but four of 95 alleged APPO supporters held in the western state of Nayarit since late November were flown back to Oaxaca: 52 were taken to the Tlacolula prison and 39 to the Miahuatlan prison. After arriving in Oaxaca, 11 of the prisoners were released, although they still face charges. The federal government had previously insisted that all the prisoners were “highly dangerous.” (LJ, Dec. 21)