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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Fortes tensions au Mexique

by Anne Roy

Tension Mounting High in Mexico

Translated Monday 16 October 2006, by Patrick Bolland

Oaxaca, Mexico: Troops have been sent to face off demonstrators demanding the resignation of the governor of Oaxaca.

For close to four months, 70,000 teachers and sympathizers have been occupying de central city square (Zocalo) of Oaxaca, capital of the southern State of Oaxaca, the third poorest State in Mexico, to protest against the social injustice inflicted on them. The movement “has gone too far”, declared the Federal Government, before opening negotiations, for the first time in four months with the demonstrators, who are seeking the resignation of the elected governor, Ulises Ruiz (member of the PRI, the party in power for 70 years up to 2000).

For the demonstrators, Ulises Ruiz, a strong supporter of President Vincente Fox (PAN, in power until the end of 2006) is a symbol of the corruption which blocks any means of satisfying their demands. Every evening, the demonstrators set up barricades, fearing violent police repression by Federal Preventive Police (PFP) and the presence of hundreds of soldiers and state policemen sent to reinforce those already there, makes the threat of violence more present. At the end of September, the Mexican Navy carried out a reconnaissance operation over the buildings and public spaces occupied the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO). Three demonstrators have already been killed, since the beginning of the occupation, following encounters with the police and the paramilitary armed by the governor.

Negotiations have not yet led to any agreement between the Government and APPO, which groups together 350 teachers unions (principally, the National Education Workers’ Union local Section 22) and the civic social organizations. The refuse to leave as long as the governor resigns. Ulises Ruiz equally refuses to step down before the end of his mandate, in four years. A delegation of 6000 teachers and demonstrators is expected to arrive Sunday to Mexico City where they intend to camp in front of the National Senate.

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