Oaxaca: resistance considers government offer; police fire on students

While the Mexican Senate ponders dissolving the powers of Oaxaca’s state government, thousands of activists from the Oaxaca Popular Peoples Assembly (APPO) and the striking teachers union are camped outside, having marched 290 miles cross-country from the conflicted state to Mexico City.

APPO and local Section 22 of the national teachers’ union have tentatively accepted an offer from the federal Government Secretary is for a security committee in Oaxaca, headed by federal Public Security Undersecretary Rafael Rios, to assume control of the state while the Senate moves to dissolve the powers of Gov. Ulises Ruiz. APPO will meanwhile press for an amendment to the state constitution allowing recall of the governor by popular vote. (Prensa Latina, Oct. 11)

The proposal, which must still be submitted to rank-and-file teachers and activists for their approval, would not entail the immediate resignation of state Gov. Ruiz, the central demand of the movement. “We will continue to seek the departure of Mr. Ruiz by institutional means,” Enrique Rueda, a leader of the teachers union, told reporters in Mexico City after the talks with Abascal had concluded.

Under the proposal, 18 arrested teachers and activists would be released and arrest warrants against 300 more activists would be dropped.

Reyes Tamez, minister of public education with the national government, expressed optimism that the state of Oaxaca’s 1.2 million students could return to classes by Monday.

Oaxaca’s teachers are among the lowest paid in Mexico, earning $400 to $600 a month. State officials have agreed to grant teachers a raise significantly larger than the 7 percent nationwide increase granted to Mexico’s public-school teachers earlier this year. (LAT, Oct. 11)

Meanwhile, elite state police troops of Oaxaca’s Citizen Protection Secretariat opened fire on the afternoon of Oct. 11 at student protesters from the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca, leaving four wounded. The students had attempted to “peacefully evict” the police agency from its offices. (La Jornada, Oct. 11) An AP account described the students as “a roving band of strike enforcers known as the ‘mobile brigade’ wearing hoods and carrying clubs and rocks”. (IHT, Oct. 11)

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