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Mexico

Mega March replies to police violence

Saturday 17 June 2006

Hundreds of thousands marched into Oaxaca, Friday 16 June, to support striking teachers whose encampment was brutally attacked by police on Wednesday. The march went to the Zocalo (central square), already retaken by the demonstrators on Thursday.

Led by section 22 of the SNTE teachers union, the march was supported by students from the university of Oaxaca, local health and university workers and numerous other union, popular and left wing organisations -including a contingent from the Frente en Defensa de la Tierra in San Salvador Atenco and other supporters of the EZLN’s ’Other Campaign’.

The principal demand of the demonstrators was the resignation of state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortíz of the right-wing Institutional Revolutionary Party, widely accused of corruption.

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Oaxaca teachers greet release of their comrades

Organisers put the numbers marching at 300,000, the police said 70,000 and the governor’s office said 15,000. Last Wednesday’s attack on the Oaxaca is the latest in a series of brutal actions by paramilitary police against striking copper miners, residents of Atenco and communities in Isla Mujeres that are trying to prevent their island becoming a rubbish dump for the trash from Cancun. Two were killed in Atenco and two copper miners also died.

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Mega march repudiates Ruiz Ortiz and paramiliary police violence

These actions, directly organised by the national intelligence committee chaired by President Vicente Fox, are widely seen as trying to create a ’strategy of tension’ - a climate of fear aimed at discrediting the EZLN’s ’Other campaign’ and ensuring a right-wing victory in the July 2 presidential election. (Recent opinion polls put Felipe Calderon, candidate of Fox’s right-wing National Action Party (PAN) slightly behind Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, candidate of the centre-left PRD.)

After negotiations the state government released 10 teachers arrested on Wednesday and suspended the arrest orders on 25 leading union activists. Negotiations on the teachers pay and other demands are continuing.

Earlier reports of deaths among the teachers on Wednesday have not been confirmed. But according an eyewitness report posted on Narco News, June 17, "One of the unconfirmed dead was a child from the town of Villa Alta. Names of the dead and injured were not released for family security reasons, and true numbers remain a secret. Gossip is everywhere, including the assertion that URO has the bodies under lock and key in a morgue. Although the names of the wounded, including police, have been made public, the names of the alleged dead and their numbers have not.

"According to the leader of Section 22, Enrique Rueda Pacheco, 20 teachers were arrested, and eight “disappeared”. According to Noticias on June 15, Pacheco said that two teachers and two children were killed. Between 30 and 100 were wounded from both teacher and police sides of the fight, according to various unofficial sources."

Click here to watch the amazing video ’Atenco - Breaking the Siege’.

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