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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Update on Mexican martial law and the ongoing resistance by teachers and their supporters

This message is a little funky, but I thought it would be best to get it out ASAP instead of worrying about typesetting.

Here it is:

The Mexican Federal Preventative Police (PFP) entered Oaxaca City yesterday at around 2:00 pm, armed with assault rifles, shields, riot armor, batons, and heavily armored “mini-tanks” with cowcatcher plows and high-powered water cannons, in addition to the Caterpillar front-end loaders used to clear away barricades and burning vehicles. They advanced through the city from the west and south towards the Zocalo, the central plaza, where the main APPO camp had been located. There were confrontations in several of the barricades, and federal forces killed at least two people and arrested at least 50, 8 of which were taken away by helicopter. Prisoners are currently being held in the 28th Military Zone, an army base in the located in the northeast of the city.

for more coverage please see and

Update #2 10/30:
posted by: Jonathan (AZ Indymedia)

The advance was slow, and met with resistance, and protestors tried their best to avoid conflict with the heavily armed feds. The police strategy was unclear at best, and involved sending in scouting teams of 50 or so officers to stand in formation in front of barricades and then retreat, after which came at least two more heavy pushes, ending at the Zocalo. At roughly the same time as one of the police battalions arrived at the southeast corner of the Zocalo, a large group of marchers from the APPO’s afternoon march arrived on the northeast corner, and ran down to meet the cops. The only confrontation was chanting and jeering, and the police didn’t enter the plaza at that point. Another hazy point in the PFP’s plan was the abandonment of a number of buses, offered for use by private transportation companies and used to move the officers in from the outskirts of the city, in a street due east of the Zocalo. According to eyewitnesses, the police arrived in the busses en masse, took the street, then left the area, at which point protestors appropriated the busses and blocked strategic intersections with them, setting several of them on fire. At roughly 8:00 pm, protestors left the Zocalo, at which point it was taken over by the PFP, and at 7:00 this morning was the hub of the downtown cleanup activities, with front-end loaders and street cleaning crews removing all remaining visible evidence of the APPO camp. There were a large number of PFP officers, still in the Zocalo, along with several mini-tanks, and more PFP spread out in the downtown area, individually standing on street corners or walking down sidewalks. Officers were not wearing riot gear this morning.

The state cut electricity to a large part of the east of the city at around 7:00 pm yesterday, which effectively ended transmission from Radio Universidad, the one remaining APPO-controlled radio station. However, the station, located inside of University City, the campus of the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca, turned on emergency generators and was up and running by roughly 8:00 pm. An APPO member with a short-wave radio reported that two radio stations had been taken over in Gelatao, a small mountain village in the Sierra Norte north of the city, and were broadcasting APPO radio during the blackout on short-wave frequencies.

It was also reported last night that protestors in Mexico City had chased Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, the governor of Oaxaca, whose resignation is APPO’s principal demand, was chased by protestors and forced to hide out in a hotel. Also coming from Mexico City were reports that solidarity protests and blockades were met with violence from the police.

Many people leaving the Zocalo last night headed east to reinforce barricades around University City. There is one main street providing access to University City, on its west side, and there were fortified barricades on each side of campus along that road. The campus itself is ringed by high walls, and the main entrance is heavily guarded, with entrants asked for ID and frisked before being allowed entrance. Support for the barricades is high, with locals coming out with coffee and sweetbread for people on the barricades all thoughout the night. Although the Zocalo was taken by the PFP, APPO leader Flavio Sosa reports that there are still more than 3,000 barricades throughout the city which will continue to resist PFP presence, and that thousands of Oaxacans are currently en route to the city to assist in the popular movement.

The APPO called for three marches today, each departing from a different place in the city at 1:00 pm, and at this moment they have converged in the streets ringing the Zocalo, chanting and shouting against the PFP presence in the city. The police are currently guarding all accesses to the city with batons, teargas grenade launchers, assault rifles, and mini-tanks.

Update # 3 10/30:
posted by: Jonathan (AZ Indymedia)

Left out of the last update was the fact that the Mexican Federal Preventative Police (PFP) were yesterday afternoon storming areas of the Miguel Aleman neighborhood, going house by house looking to arrest certain key figures in the APPO.

At this moment, the PFP are concentrated inside Oaxaca City’s Zocalo, or central plaza, and are blocking all entrances with in riot gear with batons, assault weapons, and gas masks. Some entrances are backed up by “mini-tanks”, armored vehicles equipped with cowcatcher plows and high-pressure water guns mounted on rotating turrets on top of the vehicle.

Protestors are gathered at all entrances. Some are sluggish, standing around and talking to each other, while other larger groups are actively taunting police, and some rocks have been thrown. New barricades are being built, small lines of tires, a few new vehicles blocking intersections, nothing comparable to what had been constructed before, but not all old barricades have been removed, and many burnt cars and busses still ring the Zocalo. At least one car is burning at this moment, and there are a handful of tire fires as well.

Mexican president Vicente Fox claimed today that “holy peace” had arrived to Oaxaca, but that is certainly not the case. The PFP seems to be playing a defensive role at the moment, holding the Zocalo, undoubtedly while preparing for another offensive, but the city is still tense and the situation is far from resolved. There are reports that there is a PFP presence in other areas of the city, but in the historic downtown area they’ve taken all officers off the street corners and are only in the Zocalo.

The response to the movement, both nationally and internationally, has been strong. There are Indymedia and reports of protests and occupations at Mexican consulates across the US and in Spain. In addition to other activities, at least 400 APPO supporters in Mexico City are at this moment marching towards the offices of the Secretaria de Gobernacion, the Mexican equivalent of the Secretary of the Interior. The Mexican National Education Workers’ Union (SNTE) has declared indefinite work stoppages in several states in protest of PFP presence in Oaxaca. However, Reyes Tamez, the Mexican Secretary of Education, said today that roughly 4,000 of the 13,000 schools in Oaxaca were starting classes today. This was confirmed by the leader of Oaxaca SNTE section 22, Enrique Rueda Pacheco. Rueda Pacheco is viewed by many teachers and APPO members as selling out the movement by agreeing to return to classes before governor Ortiz was out of office.

Translation of Oaxaca Indymedia Update 10/31:
posted by: AZ Indymedia translation team

2nd Chronical of Resistance in Oaxaca
Posted by krutaav, October 31, 2006
Translated by Arizona Indymedia


This morning there were three marches in three different parts of the city – Viguera (the highway to Mexico City), Procuraduría General del Estado (the highway to the coast), and the Monumento a Juárez (the route to the Sierra Norte).

At 11 this morning the march left from the Monumento a Juárez, with approximately 10,000 people despite the Federal Preventive Police’s (PFP) attempts to block the entrance of many demonstrators from the Sierra Norte. The march was headed by members of the APPO and of the leadership of Sección 22 of the Teacher’s Union – with the goal of peacefully re-occupying the Zócalo.

At the intersection of Calle Independecia a group of 50 PFP with 3 tanks intercepted the march, closing off the entrance to the Zócalo.

At 1 p.m. following the chant “Oaxaca is not a barracks, military out of Oaxaca!” the mass of demonstrators sat down in front of the police and began to sing the Mexican National Anthem and the Mexican Magisterial Hymn. Afterward, Florentino López (a spokesperson for the APPO) climbed one of the tanks to address the police and try to convince them that they “are part of the people”, while the police advanced and people began chanting “Oaxaca is not Atenco!”. The APPO representative continued to say that “’el Yunque’ (URO) sent them to murder”… “Our struggle is civil and peaceful” and that “the PFP has been politically defeated”.

At the end of this speech, seeing that the police were not going to open the way to the Zócalo, the demonstrators decided to return to the former Santo Domingo Convent to hold a meeting – after first chanting and shouting a few slogans.

At the Calle de Garcia Vigil, after encountering another gathering of police, indigenous women and men began chanting and shouting against the violent incursion of the PFP.

Examples: “Police beat us for ‘el Sancho’ (URO)’s benefit” “Do you (police) remember when the teachers used to clean your snot?” “We women will drop our aprons and pick up rifles” “PFP – your parents were farmers and you are murderers” etc…

A reporter from TV Azteca Canal 13 (Federico Anaya) was pushed out and removed from the protest for a group shouting “get out! get out!” – and he had no other option than to retreat, because along with the Televisa network they have been complicit with the massacres and repression throughout Mexico, by hiding the truth about the reasons for the protests and hiding the voices of the people.

Major barricades are still being defended in thee places: Radio Universidad, the former Santo Domingo Convent (just five blocks away from the Zócalo) and at the Canal 9 TV station (the station that was taken over by Oaxacan women)

This afternoon they’ve announced the release of three political prisoners: Professors Evangelio Mendoza Sánchez, German Mendoza Nube and the biologist Ramiro Aragón, while the release of Catarino Torres Pereda - the spokesperson for the CODECI from the Tuxtepec region – was delayed because of negotiations that have been delayed at the La Palma maximum security prison.

All public transit in Oaxaca City has remained paralyzed.

They’ve announced on Radio Universidad that in Miahuatlán there are two military trucks along with state police who are going house to house searching for APPO leaders. There was also a nighttime incursion into the University despite the University president (Rector Francisco Martínez Neri)’s public statement of support for the popular movement and affirmation of the University’s autonomy. Many people have called the radio to denounce the disappearances of family members.

The APPO is still making the preparations for and calling together the Constituent Assembly for the 10th, 11th and 12th of November, and is asking for the different sectors to name their respective delgates.

El HuArAchE (Indymedia Oaxaca)

1. Since the arrival of the PFP in Oaxaca there have been a series of solidarity protests in Chiapas, Puebla, and DF – as well as international protests at Mexican embassies, including the protest in New York where several people were arrested.

2. It has just been confirmed that at least 20 more people have been arrested, and the people continue to construct and fortify their barricades.
Subject: [oaxaca] El Zòcalo de Oaxaca: Reopened, 'cleaned up,' and full of soldiers

> El Zòcalo de Oaxaca: Reopened, 'cleaned up,' and full of soldiers
> photos at:
> and more photos at:
> The 'New Tourism' in Oaxaca (by danielsan & ariel)
> October 31st, 2006 - danielsan writes: After another tense (Monday) night of barricades and threats, the people of Oaxaca City awoke this morning to find the PFP barricades somewhat loosened.
> After the tremendous show of force on Sunday, storming the city and killing two, the Federal Preventative Police have opened their new-and-improved Zòcalo to the general public. It looks like they've spent the whole night painting over graffiti, but there's still a lot of work left to do. The city is still tense, but the overwhelming response to Sunday's invasion was militant defiance. with a pragmatic non-violent stance that bowed to the overwhelming force of tanks, helicopters, water cannons, tear gas, bulldozers, and thousands of federal troops.
> The PFP retook the Palácio Municipál on the Zócalo, essentially the Capital Building, and sent government and military officials inside for the first time in months.
> The next step after storming the Zócalo was obviously to re-paint. Months of unabated graffiti seems to be the most egregous violation of the law in the past few months, and the military immediately set to work painting over slogans and calls for the removal of the governor, who incidentally still has not arrived in the state of Oaxaca. The military has not, however, stormed the homes of any of the identified killers of local teachers, children, neighbors, or indymedia journalists in order to restore law and order in Oaxaca.
> While the soldiers occupied the Zócalo, they also occupied the same tents, beds, and sofas the teachers has been spending their days and nights in. In fact, aside from the camo and guns, the Zócalo doesn't look *all that* different today: The soldiers set up mobile kitchens remarkably similar to those set up by APPO, pitched their own tents, unrolled bedrolls that might have come from some of the same mothers.
> They brought portapotties, though, and have evicted most of the vendors and shut down all the kiosks. They sat on the same benches and pretty much occupied the Zócalo with their own camoflauged high-budget (armed) plantón.
> Sporadic tear gas canon shots rang out yesterday, as crowds chanted (and taunted) in front of the police lines. Some were obviously PRIsta provocateurs (They stick out in a crowd of people who have spent the past five months in the street). Today there was a PRIsta march in support of the PFP arriving to liberate the investors from the clutches of the school teachers.
> The barricades were cleared and loaded into a row of garbage trucks: burned cars, sand bags, rocks, aluminum sheeting, barbed wire.
> Oh and what of the teachers?? Unintimidated, they've simply moved up the road a few blocks, occupying the surrounding plazas and church squares. Just as many are in the streets all day every day. Just as many continue with the same demands, the same resistance to the impositions of the invading federal government. APPO, the SNTE, and above all the people of Oaxaca continue to struggle and resist despite the presence of the military in their city. Negotiations in México City, D.F. continue. URO continues to feign a hold on power from afar. The Senate makes decisions based on party politics, and the poor of Oaxaca continue to starve. So the big news is that the troops have come. but nothing's changed on the ground in Oaxaca. The big story is that the occupation was symbolic and brutal, while the resistance was symbolic and non-violent. Adelante-we'll see who makes the next move.
> -------------
> Oaxaca solidarity:
> El Enemigo Común (film and news)
> email 'announcement' list
> events and actions

Categories: World News, Revolution, Media Activism

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