By José Stalin Pedro / Photos and sound landscape by Griselda Sanchez
After the brutal repression experienced on Sunday, June 19, Section 22 of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) in Oaxaca called a demonstration at the Juarez Monument. Thousands showed up with banners and posters supporting the teachers union, condemning the repression and rejecting the educational reform signed into law by the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.
At 10 o’clock in the morning the next day, the march set out on Federal Highway 190 towards the Zocalo of the city of Oaxaca. Along the way, thousands of people chanted slogans: “Right now, right now, there’s something you must do, bring our people back alive and punish all those guilty.” And “Press, press, press, if you have any dignity, all we ask of you is truth and credibility.”
After marching a little over half a mile, the protesters passed by the Public Education Institute of Oaxaca and people saw that it was under the guard of the National Gendarmerie. Everyone began to shout out loud: “With the people big and bad, with the drug lords kissing ass.”
There was a tense moment when some people got up in the faces of the keepers of law and order: “Comrades, let’s get on with the march. Don’t respond to provocations,” said a voice over the loudspeaker of the white Ford pickup. People carried signs lambasting the President of Mexico. “Peña Nieto, stop the repression against Section 22 teachers.”
Some of the posters slammed state Governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo: “Gabino don’t know how to rule, all he knows is how to kill.” Along the way, lots of people showed their support for the dissident teachers. A young guy with two other people held up a sign that said, “The teacher in struggle is teaching, too,” and “The peoples of Oaxaca are standing by the teachers.”
When the march got to the the Oaxaca Warriors baseball stadium, a long line of Gendarmes blocking the road to Human Rights watched people go by. Here there were no tense encounters, just shouts of “Killers! Killers!” as the march headed for the center of the city.
At two o’clock in the afternoon, a voice on the loud speaker announced that the first contingent of the march had arrived at the Zocalo. The center of the march was still 17 blocks away, on Héroes de Chapultepec Avenue, turning down Benito Juarez Avenue. Across from the park called El Llano, the doors of the Federal Courthouse were closed.
A banner hung on the Courthouse with a black ribbon said, ”The Constitution is dead.” Many university students and children showed their support for the demonstrators. Some carried signs that said things like “I’m a student and I support the CNTE,” a reference to the group that includes the teachers of Oaxaca’s Section 22.
The march continued down Morelos Street, turning right on García Vigil and arriving at the Zocalo, where the teachers’ union has been camped out. There, a rally was held along with social organizations, students, Section 35 of the Health Workers’ Union, and local government authorities supporting Section 22.
At the end of the rally, a member of Section 22’s Political Commission read a message to the crowd. “We condemn the acts against our righteous brothers and sisters of Nochixtlán and denounce the crimes against humanity committed there. We demand federal negotiations to bring about the repeal of the mistakenly named “education reforms,” said the speaker.
Speaking to thousands of people, he also demanded “a political trial for all state and federal authorities and the construction of a common agenda that would include the demands of the people, not just the teacher union’s demands, but those of the whole society,” he concluded.
To get the feel of the day’s events, you can listen to a soundscape of the march here: