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Mexican President represses the teachers and people of Oaxaca, Mexico

Martin O'Neill | 17.02.2011 02:29 | Oaxaca Uprising

The mainstream media continues with the narrative that the only thing worth reporting from Mexico is the 'Drugs War'.

Following an armed attack by the Eagle Wings on a demonstration in Mitziton in support of the 10 imprisoned compas from SS Bachajon, in which several members of the Other Campaign were wounded, one seriously, comes this police attack in Oaxaca. It seems the level of repression is rising…….

Gabino Cué and Felipe Calderón repress the teachers and people of Oaxaca

Today, February 15, federal and state police, thugs dressed in civilian clothes, and snipers located on the roofs of various building in the historic center of Oaxaca provoked and repressed the peaceful teachers’ and Oaxacan people’s protest against the presence of Felipe Calderón in Oaxaca.

On the afternoon of Monday, February 14, an enormous deployment of federal and local police bodies, together with the army, took the Zócalo and the adjacent streets of the historic center. At 11:30 in the morning today, February 15, a group of teachers belonging to Section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE carried out a peaceful protest in one of the intersections leading to the Zócalo when the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) attacked, leaving two teachers wounded, one of them the union’s press secretary – Meliton Santiago – and a compañero from the social movement who was shot in the head.

In the face of this aggression, the teachers defended themselves and as a means of protest detained three members of the Federal Preventive Police, which later resulted in a PFP operation where the PFP occupied the union’s building – CEPOS 22 – where the teachers had held the PFP agents, resulting in the violent detention of four professors who were in the building. Upon regrouping at around 2pm, the teachers and the people in general continued their protests in the area while more professors and members of the general public headed towards the Zócalo, where they were dispersed with tear gas and gunfire from snipers located on the roofs of various buildings in the historic center. On Cinco de Mayo Street, still several blocks away from the site of the protests, compañero “kalamar,” who is a member of the Hormigas Libertarias Collective, was hit with gunfire to the head. We feel obligated for the moment to withhold the name of the compañero for legal and security reasons.

On the roof of the Casa Azul Hotel, located on Fiallo Street in the historic center, the repressive police chief Daniel Camarena – an inheritance of Gabino Cué from the murderer Ulises Ruiz – was seen in the company of individuals dressed in civilian clothes who were carrying large firearms, likely sniper rifles.

After two in the afternoon, tens of SUVs drove at high speed through the tourist pedestrian area towards the former Santo Domingo convent where 50 meters from the entrance there was a blockade consisting of 12 soldiers. These SUVs carried some of the committee members of the state and federal governments, who entered the patio of Santo Domingo surrounded by tens of federal police. At approximately 2:30pm at least 50 federal police were in the tourist walkway to reinforce the siege.

Meanwhile, confrontations with the police stretched from the Zócalo to the nearby streets. During this time on Hidalgo Street at Mier y Teran Street, a black car with Puebla license plates TWM 9318 was seen leading a caravan of eight military transport vehicles which carried tens of soldiers and tens of individuals dressed in civilian clothes (at least 100) with striped t-shirts and dark glasses who were “released” into the historic center to carry out destructive acts in order to attribute them to the protesters, among them the burning of a PFP trailer in the Zócalo and apparently a bus on the road to Xoxocotlan. At the same time, the arrival of a PFP airplane at the city airport carrying more federal reinforcements was observed.

As of the time of writing this communiqué, 14 people have been confirmed wounded, two with wounds to the head, the result of shots fired from snipers located on the roofs near the Zócalo of Oaxaca, and one other individual wounded with a live round to the body, as well as two other people who have wounds as a result of being hit by tear gas canisters, all of whom have been hospitalized as a result of the wounds they received.

In ISSSTE hospital in the city of Oaxaca four members of the teachers’ union – two wounded by gunfire and two by tear gas canisters – were admitted. In the same hospital the PFP carried out an impressive operation including patrol vehicles, ambulances and fire trucks to “remove” four wounded members of the PFP who had also been admitted to the same hospital.

This evening, tens of police officers and soldiers are based at Hotel Parador Crespo, located on Crespo Street in the historic center, a location which is less than two blocks from CASOTA, the building where our organization, VOCAL, is based out of.

We denounced these events and hold Felipe Calderón and Gabino Cué Monteagudo directly responsible. Cué has very quickly betrayed the trust of the people of Oaxaca who believed in his promises that never again would the police be used to repress protests.

We denounce the gravity of these events, above all the use of paramilitary shock groups and snipers, as part of a clearly fascist strategy to repress and intimidate the people of Oaxaca and its organizations and organized sectors.

We denounce the institutional and media siege which have roundly denied and ignored the presence of snipers and paramilitary shock groups who infiltrated today’s protests.

We denounce the cynical and perverse attitude of Gabino Cué, who has immediately called for dialogue with the Oaxacan teachers’ union and we point out the danger and strain that the entire Oaxacan social movement may be faced with if these grave events remain unaddressed as a result of political agreements between the government and the leadership of the teachers’ union.

We call for international and national attention to be paid to these events in Oaxaca which appear to inaugurate an era of state fascism on behalf of Felipe Calderón and his flunky in Oaxaca, Gabino Cué Monteagudo.

Today on the streets of Oaxaca it was heard: He’s fallen, Gabino has fallen!

Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL)
Oaxaca de Magón, City of Resistance, February 15, 2011

Snipers shooting demonstrators marks new level of repression in Oaxaca

by Scott Campbell
Oaxaca. February 15, 2011

Felipe Calderon came to visit Oaxaca and brought with him more than 150 uniformed federal police. There were snipers stationed on the rooftops of hotels. There were also several army trucks full of either police or military dressed in civilian clothes. Allegedly, after the clashes finished, these individuals set some cars on fire near the second class bus station in an attempt to lure protesters there to be arrested (and of course also to blame the protesters for the act).

Earlier today, as people were gathering for a march called by Section 22 against Calderon’s visit, snipers opened fire on those gathering. Two teachers were hit. One in the butt and another in the head. Two other individuals were hospitalized as a result of taking direct hits from tear gas canisters. One in the head – Marcelino Coache, a prominent APPO member – and another in the chest. All four will reportedly be fine. The march went on and as the police tried to block them from getting into the zocalo, clashes erupted.

People report that the police fired tear gas indiscriminately all over the zocalo, which at the time was full of tourists. At one point, three federal police officers were detained by activists to exchange for those arrested by the police. That plan didn’t work out as the federal police raided the location where the officers were being held, arresting more people. For most of the afternoon, protesters and kops were battling it out on Independencia and in the Alameda. Protesters used rocks and one or two molotovs. Police used rocks, tear gas, and I also saw one throw a molotov at the protesters. A tractor trailer parked in the zocalo was set on fire and burned for at least an hour. After the truck started burning, the police left and people just gathered taking photos. It was reported around 6:30pm that clashes had started up again, presumably after the fire had been put out and the police moved back in.

Section 22 held a press conference at 7pm. Initially it was reported they have called a halt to negotiations with Oaxaca’s new governor, Gabino Cué Monteagudo, as a result of the repression. Now it is unclear. In a gesture to brush this under the rug, Cue has announced that the 14 people arrested today will be released without charges. Four people remain hospitalized. There will be a march leaving from IEEPO at 10am tomorrow morning. The shooting of demonstrators in the head with live fire from snipers – which has passed unmentioned by most of the media – marks a major escalation in the level of repression being deployed against the social movement in Oaxaca.

Martin O'Neill
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19.02.2011 02:38



On 17th February, Russian trade unions held a picket outside the Mexican embassy in Moscow in protest against violations of workers’ rights in Mexico. The picket was held for about an hour and a letter handed into the embassy with the demands of the international trade union movement. The maximum number of people allowed to stand and show solidarity with the Mexican workers was ten. Despite the freezing minus 20 temperature, nearly twice that number of people turned up. The police on duty said that no more than 10 people at once could stand and demonstrate and insisted that demonstrators replaced one another in front of the embassy to keep the number at 10. The protestors held a banner with the words “Mexico is anti-union territory”. The level of anti-union repression in Mexico is equal to that of South Korea. In South Korea, each year trade union activists are subjected to brutal suppression and strike are suppressed by police and the army. The labour legislation violated international standards, especially regarding the question of freedom of association.
The picket was held in the framework of global days of action for trade union rights in Mexico 14- 19 February.
We recall that the IMF, ICEM, ITF and UNI are calling on affiliates to take action from February 14 until and as close as possible to the fifth anniversary of the Pasta de Chonchos tragedy on February 19.
The demands are
1:Hold employer and government officials accountable for the Pasta de Chonchos mine explosion that killed 65 miners on February 19, 2006,

2. Abolish systemic violation of workers’ freedom of association,

3. End the use of force by the state or private parties to repress workers’ legitimate demands for democratic unions, better conditions, etc,

4. End the campaign of political persecution against the Mexican Miner’s Union and Mexican Electrical Workers’ Union.

More details can be found via these links



On 17 February, a picket was held outside the Mexican embassy in London in protest at the continued violations of the right to freedom of association. The Unite union said that since 2006, the Mexican government has escalated its illegal and violent attacks on the Mexican Miners Union, following a 2006 explosion at Grupo Mexico’s Pasta de Conchos mine that killed 65 miners.

“The Mexican government has systematically and repeatedly violated Mexican law and international standards in an attempt to crush the Mexican Miners Union” Unite said.

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