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Megamarch and ceremony mark anniversary of Oaxaca mass arrests

Il Gattopardo | 28.11.2007 21:01 | Oaxaca Uprising | Repression | World

On Sunday 25th a megamarch of over 50,000 marched the 6km from the airport to the Zocalo. The march left at 8am and didn't arrive at the Zocalo until midday. Consisting of mainly teachers there were also many representatives of other groups in Oaxaca state and from other states like Chiapas and Guerrero.

National groups like the National Front Against Repression also turned up along with a small group of masked-up youth around 50 strong which ensured the surroundings were liberally redecorated en route.
Despite the calls for a combative rather than festive spirit the latter mood prevailed on the warm, sunny morning as those on the megaphone repeated their calls for justice in Oaxaca and the unity of the social movements. The fragility of this unity briefly surfaced when the hoodies tried to disrupt the order imposed on the march by the APPO security and march at the front. The over-zealous security tried to physically stop them before calmer voices managed to quieten the situation and the march proceeded into the city centre.
In the Zocalo the usual podium was set up and and a few speeches given by APPO 'leaders' before the crowd dispersed for Sunday lunch. The grafitti in the historic centre was then swiftly removed by council officials.
A few hours later, around 4, a crowd started to gather in the Llano park for an indigenous ceremony to 'restore spiritual equilibrium' or mourn the dead from last year's repression. Many people injured, psychologically or physically or both on November 25 2006, lit candles and turned to face the four cardinal points, while women spiritual leaders dressed in white wafted burning copal and prayed, to help heal the participants. Among the 'healers' stood Chiapas men in their ritual hats of ribbons. It was an event supported by and attended by civil organizations such as Limeddh, EDUCA, and VOCAL. As night fell a candlelit march of around 300 headed for the Pañuelita garden by Santo Domingo and then on to the Zocalo where the ceremony continued and was followed by traditional dancing.
Both in the Llano and Zocalo the state government had laid on rival musical events in its desperate attempts to attract attention away from its murderous activities last year and the militarisation of Oaxaca. Despite the lack of police presence on the day in the week before the police were deployed in numbers across the city centre and helicopters regularly circled overhead. It was widely publicised that the security forces had just been kitted out with new 'toys' like riot gear, uniforms etc. In the days since the march the centre has also been full of police, if not in the Zocalo, then lurking in neighbouring streets.

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