80,000 striking teachers marched in Oaxaca City June 2 to press their demands for better wages and a reorganization of the state’s education system, marking the largest mass mobilization in the city’s history. In addition to a large state police presence, a contigent of 500 elite Federal Preventative Police were dispatched to the city for the rally. (La Jornada, June 3) “The governor has sounded the drums of war, but we will not be intimidated,” said Enrique Rueda Pacheco, secretary general of Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), speaking of Oaxaca’s Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. (La Jornada, June 4)
That same day, thousands of SNTE also blocked the road to Oaxaca’s Benito Juarez International Airport, effectivelty shutting it down for several hours. (La Jornada, June 2) The previous day, thousands of teachers blocked the highway between the towns of Ciudad Aleman and Puerto Angel. (La Jornada, June 1)
The dissident National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), a more militant current within the SNTE, announced it would organize such protests throughout the country if the Oaxaca teachers’ demands are not met. (La Jornada, June 4)
Political violence is growing in Oaxaca. On May 29, the Oaxaca City office of the Citizens Defense Committee (CODECI), a group that supports the teachers’ strike as well as the Zapatista “Other Campaign,” was invaded by a group of 60 men armed with clubs and machetes, who were believed to belong to a local paramilitary group called the Popular Worker-Peasant General Union (UGOCP). The armed men threatened and roughed up those in the office, and stole equipment. (CODECI press release, May 31)
Campesino protesters also marched on Oaxcaca City May 30 to demand justice in the May 18 slaying in San Juan Mixtepec of Moisés Cruz Sánchez, founder of the International Network of Indigenous Oaxacans (RIIO), a group which worked on behalf of Mixtec migrant laborers on both sides of the US-Mexico border. (La Jornada, June 3; La Jornada, June 2)
All sources online at Chiapas95.
For more on Moisés Cruz Sánchez, see Noticias de Oaxaca, May 30.