Oaxaca: “mega-march” commemorates start of uprising

In a “mega-march” extending more than 10 kilometers, thousands of teachers from the Section 22 union and their supporters in the Popular People’s Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) marched through southern Mexico’s Oaxaca City June 14 to mark the first anniversary of the clash between police and striking teachers that sparked months of political unrest.

The marchers chanted “June 14—not forgotten, not forgiven!” and carried posters with the faces of imprisoned APPO leaders Flavio Sosa y César Mateos, two of the nine Oaxaca activists who remain behind bars. The march finally assmebled in the city’s central square, where the initial clash took place one year ago, and which subsequently became the nerve center of their movement. There a public meeting was held, presided over by Section 22 leader Ezequiel Rosales Carreño.

Smaller groups of protesters blockaded streets with rubble and commandeered buses—a tactic used during the 2006 protest, in which the plaza was seized and held for months. Most of the barricades erected at Thursday’s commemoration protest were removed after a few hours, however.

The protesters continued to demand the ouster of Oaxaca’s Gov. Ulises Ruiz, which became the central demand of the movement following the June 2006 violence. (El Universal; AP, June 14)

See our last posts on Mexico and Oaxaca.

  1. Mexican high court to probe Oaxaca abuses
    From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 17:

    Some 20,000 people marched in Oaxaca city, capital of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, on June 14 to mark the first anniversary of a violent but unsuccessful attack by state police on a downtown encampment by the state’s striking teachers. The police attack escalated the strike and led to the formation of the broad-based Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), which kept much of the city and the state paralyzed until federal police and troops ended the uprising in late October and early November. Marchers in the June 14 demonstration called for punishment for those responsible for 21 deaths in Oaxaca from June through November; the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz; the release of political prisoners; the reopening of almost 200 schools; and more resources for teachers. (El Diario-La Prensa, June 15 from La Opinion)

    On June 12 Justice Juan N. Silva Meza of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) called for the court to set up a special commission to investigate actions by federal, state and local authorities in Oaxaca from June 2, 2006 to Jan. 31, 2007, and to establish “why these serious violations of individual guarantees took place, who ordered them, and whether [this] followed a government strategy.” His call responded to a May 24 report by the government’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), which concluded that government authorities had “physically harmed a great number of people in a cruel and inhumane manner.” (La Jornada, Mexico, June 13; Noticias de Oaxaca, May 25)