Oaxaca: more labor unrest, political violence

Oaxaca City saw another massive mobilization in support of striking teachers yesterday, with an estimated 100,000 marching from the Juarez monument to the Plaza de la Danza, where a political tribunal was held to hear charges against Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. (La Jornada, June 8)

In related news, riot police were called in to the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, in Michoacan state, where some 30 buildings are being occupied by student protesters. (La Jornada, June 8)

In another act of violence against the Triqui indigenous peoples of Oaxaca, the municipal agent for the hamlets of Llano Aguacate and Copala, in Santiago Juxtlahuaca municipality, Andres Martinez Juarez, was assassinated by unknown gunment June 8. The victim was a prominent member of the Triqui Movement for Unification and Struggle (MULT). His companion Ignacio de Jesus Cruz was also wounded in the ambush on a mountain path, where they were visiting a remote settlement to discuss aid for small coffee-growers. A paramilitary group linked to the PRI political machine, the Union for the Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), is held to be behind the attack. (La Jornada, June 8)

All sources online at Chiapas95.

See our last post on Mexico, and the Oaxaca strike.

Teachers block petrol plant

From El Universal, June 9:

Around 300 Oaxaca school-teachers staged another protest at the Pemex distribution plant outside the state capital on Thursday and called on President Vicente Fox to mediate the ongoing labor dispute. The striking teachers again blockaded access to the gasoline plant, disrupting delivery to gas stations across the state. On Tuesday, a similar protest prevented the state oil monopoly from delivering 170,000 liters of gasoline to points south of Oaxaca City.

Groups of teachers also formed blockades at the state attorney general's office and the state Public Education Institute. In addition, they disrupted construction activities at one of Oaxaca's landmarks, El Cerro de El Fortin.

Elsewhere, teachers momentarily took control of the nearby San Pablo Huitzo toll road interchange, allowing vehicles to pass through free of charge.

These activities come a day after the local syndicate of the National Teachers Union convened a massive demonstration in the state capital.

State authorities reported that roughly 100,000 people participated, while the teachers claimed the number was over 150,000.

Considering that the entire state of Oaxaca boasts a population of 1 million, the size of the protest was remarkable.

Teachers from neighboring states and activists from Mexico City also took part.

During Wednesday's demonstration, union leaders dismissed Governor Ulises Ruiz as a reliable partner in negotiations and denounced his administration as repressive.

The protest included a mock trial of Ruiz during which teachers criticized his performance, denouncing his travels to the United States and the massive funds devoted to remodeling the Historic Center of Oaxaca City.

The roughly 70,000 teachers in the syndicate who walked off the job in late May are demanding better pay and benefits. They have already rejected the offer proposed by the state government.

Ruiz has threatened to rescind the offer and reduce the salary offer to reflect each day of school missed due to the strike which began on May 22.

Teachers block road in Guerrero

From La Jornada, June 14, via Chiapas95 (our translation):

Chilpancingo -- More than 220 teachers from 119 kindergartens in the center of the state blocked for two hours the busiest avenues of this city, and then returned to their ongoing vigil initated Monday outside the Gerrero Secretary of Education (SEG) to protest staff changes in the sector. For the second consecutive day, more than 5,000 children went without classes in the municipalities
of Quechultenango, Mochitlan and Chilpancingo, among others.

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