Saturday, 17 November 2007

Demos on day of third annual report of Oaxaca Governor

On November 15th four large marches paralysed the streets of Oaxaca in the morning in protest at the governor Ulises Ruiz' delivery of his third annual report. Whilst three marches converged from the city boundaries on the Zocalo thousands of teachers marched to the out of town shiny Congess of Deputies to blockade it and prevent the arrival of the Deputies. However when they arrived there at around 9am most of the Deputies were already inside but the governor was prevented from giving the report in person with a lackey handing it over instead. With the Congress surrounded by mostly teachers, grafitti was spray painted on the entrance by the few autonomous elements and the local press reported 3 smashed windows and some other minor property damage.
However the march security ensured there was little spontaneous activity, which was unlikely anyway given that almost all the marchers were teachers-they even tried to erase the grafitti when everyone had dispersed. A few speeches were given, the teachers held their sectional meetings and by midday everyone had dispersed, most to enjoy the rest of their day off whilst a few made their way to the Zocalo.
At the Zocalo there had been similar scenes with thousands of teachers cramming the square to hold their meetings whilst the speeches given from the bandstand in the centre by the Section 22 Secretary Ezequiel Rosales Carreño and a few other spokespersons were largely ignored. Rosales Carreño gave an interview to national commercial TV station Televisa before rushing off after around 15 minutes surrounded by his personal security detail.
Meanwhile a vigil and fast had been set up outside the cathedral for the victims of last year's state terrorism. The fast, which lasted from 9-5 included ex-prisoners of the Tepic Nayarit prison over 1000km away who were sent there after being arrested on 25/11/06 where they spent over 20 days, widows of the victims, relatives of those still detained and NGO members. Unfortunately neither the Section 22 spokespersons nor the majority of the teachers attended the fast to pay their respects. Photos of last year's state repression were on display in the tent and canvases of resistance art were placed in the square outside the cathedral.
During the afternoon the Zocalo was full of plain clothes cops to make sure the fast ended on time and nothing disrupted the official event in the evening in the Museo del Palacio on the other side of the Zocalo. 300 specially selected guests heard Ulises Ruiz deliver his report assisted by video screens displaying the 'achievements' of the state govt in the last year.
A report was given by an International Commission of Human Rights Jurists into the human rigts violations in Oaxaca last year in the nearby uni law dept. This was organised by the German NGO Diakonie and addressed by La Liga Mexicano de Derechos Humanos and other NGOs. Some of the torture victims also spoke. Some are still physically damaged, being left crippled or with facial deformities, as well as the thousands psychologically damaged by the repression.

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