October 4, 2006 – In Oaxaca, civil society groups and members of non-governmental organizations have set up a peace camp in the esplanade a UNESCO World Heritage site in downtown Oaxaca City to call national and international attention to an impending military and police offensive. Meanwhile, striking school teachers and members of Oaxaca’s popular movement have traveled once again to Mexico City to dialogue with the Secretary of the Interior. Vladimir Flores has the latest.
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The delegations from Oaxaca had originally been called to Mexico City for a forum to include business leaders, civil society representatives, and Governor Ulises Ruiz. Earlier this week, President Fox warned of serious consequences if an agreement is not reached. But the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca and teachers decided in separate meetings last night not to attend today’s forum, but to instead request alternative negotiations with the Interior Secretary to demand a stop to the militarization of the state. This Oaxaca City nursery school teacher, who did not want to give her name, spoke about the general tension in the protest encampments in light of military overflights and troop movements within the state.
(AUDIO teacher) “Yes, we’re scared… but we don’t care – because if the federal police come in or the Marines come in like they are already saying … let them come. It doesn’t matter because if they come and they attack us or carry out some strong act of provocation against us – this is only going to get bigger. If they don’t resolve this, it’s going to grow and there will be problems. We are not going to just accept whatever they do to us. It’s going to extend further, to the national level.” Many in Oaxaca are nervous that the federal government may intervene with force as early as tonight.