Yesterday, riot police clashed with protestors at the state university campus (Benito Juarez Autonomous University) at the Mexican City of Oxaca, a tourist city and the capital of one of Mexico’s poorest states.

(From BBC, 11.03.06 )

The protests in Oaxaca were initially run by teachers striking for better pay and conditions, but they expanded to involve other groups … [now] demanding that Governor Ulises Ruiz [Oxaca state governor] be sacked for alleged abuse of power.
The teachers initially staged the walk-out to demand higher pay and better working conditions. However, after police attacked one of their demonstrations in June, they extended their demands to include a call for the governor’s resignation. The protests began in May, virtually paralysing the city…Thousands of schools have been closed since the strike began, leaving 1.3 million children unable to attend classes. (read more here)

(From IPS by Diego Ceballos, 11.02.06)

[Diego Ceballos writes]The conflict in this state broke out in May when the local teachers’ union went on strike and carried out protests, including an encampment in the capital city, to demand higher wages. In June, Ruiz tried to break up the protest by sending in state police. After that, social discontent flared up and the APPO emerged spontaneously. Since then, the crisis has grown. The APPO occupied all public offices and some private radio stations, and took the streets and squares of Oaxaca to demand Ruiz’s departure. Now they no longer have control of the streets, but the crisis continues. During the time that the conflict has lasted, irregular armed groups, acting on Ruiz’s orders according to the APPO, have attacked the activists on several occasions, and 15 people have died so far as a result. The APPO accuses Ruiz of taking an excessively hard line with social movements, acting in an authoritarian manner, and detaining and torturing his opponents. In Oaxaca, the legislative and judicial powers are also dominated by the PRI. (read more here)

(From Reuters,11.02.06)

[Reuter writes]…The gray-clad riot police earlier had gained the upper hand as reinforcements arrived in armored trucks and helicopters, spraying protesters with water cannons and firing tear gas canisters. But they retreated after local residents, angered at the police presence, joined the demonstrators…. Mexico’s government earlier said in a statement that police would not enter the university. Rules prevent government security forces from entering autonomous state universities.(read more here)


See also

Q&A: Crisis in Oaxaca