Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, LIMEDDH (Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights), Oaxaca branch
Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax., November 2, 2007, at 4:00 p.m.
Today, November 2, marks one year of the resistance of the people of Oaxaca who confronted the Federal Preventive Police that tried to enter the University campus to evacuate the Radio Station of the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca. Thousands of Oaxacans, whether they were sympathizers with the social movement or not, succeeded in turning back police forces, using sticks, stones, and, above all, organization and solidarity.
To celebrate the one year anniversary of this event, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca, APPO, called for a politico-cultural event at Cinco Señores in the city of Oaxaca. In the context of the traditional Day of the Dead celebration, an offering would be laid out over a sand carpet in honor of those killed, taken prisoner, and disappeared during the 2006 conflict. A number of different artistic groups were to participate during the day.
As had been widely announced, at 6:00 a.m. a group of people waited for the trucks bringing the sand for the carpet, closing off one of the four access roads to the intersection. Around 7:00 a.m., several bunker type trucks of the Special Operations Police Unit (UPOE) arrived, along with convoys of state police trucks and para-police forces on motorcycles. They irresponsibly rode into the demonstration, endangering the demonstrators. They instantly used excessive force to arrest an undetermined number of people and set up a checkpoint operation on the site, at which they searched the belongings of passersby and arrested “suspicious” people believed to have participated in the events. Likewise, neighbors in the surrounding area denounced the entry of police forces into private homes in search of participants believed to be sheltered there.
As of now, two people are reported wounded at the Civil Hospital and around 43 people arrested and taken to the headquarters of the Ministry of Citizen Protection in Santa María Coyotepec; according to the denunciations of those arrested, they were beaten at the headquarters. They arrested people have been released, but two people are believed to have been disappeared.
These repressive actions by the State Government are a bad sign for an in depth solution to the social conflict generated precisely by the authoritarianism of this government. Trying to silence citizen protests through police force and terror reflects nothing other than the political inability to govern the life of a state submerged in poverty and desperation, whose people are seeking democratic forms of participation.
Democratic life in a society is only possible through constructive dialogue and corresponding social responsibility. But once again, it is clear that the call by Ulises Ruiz Ortiz to undertake state reforms is simply a simulation because these actions reflecting a fascist policy show us that the gateways to democracy are closed.
The repression of this demonstration is an act of tremendous political clumsiness––first, because Mexican people traditionally place offerings on November 2 to remember their dead; second, because the social movement tried to peacefully commemorate the event in which its participants stoically resisted the aggression of the Federal Preventive Police against a university space; and, lastly, because this was a previously announced artistic demonstration. The repression against this demonstration held by people who for more than a year have resisted attacks consisting of human rights violations, is a shameful action for a government that repeatedly tells itself that “nothing’s going on in Oaxaca,” when we all know that the consequences of the strategies of the state of intimidation and terrorism will provoke confrontations even more difficult to control.
The least the government could have done is to respect the previously announced celebration as a sign of its willingness to achieve reconciliation.
In the face of these events, the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights states the following:
- We hold Ulises Ruiz Ortiz responsible for the aggressions against the participants in the social movement, as well as any aggressions they may suffer in the aftermath, given that at this very moment demonstrators continue to be threatened by police forces in peaceful demonstrations that are taking place.
- We condemn the government’s hostile utilization of the system of justice to criminalize social protest for the umpteenth time.
- We demand respect for the content of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Accords and Conventions on Human Rights, ratified by Mexico.
A flame that burns for the rights of the peoples!
LIMEDDH- Oaxaca branch
A flame that burns for the rights of the peoples!
Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos
(Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights)
Limeddh is affiliated with the International Federation of Human Rights and the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) and is also associated with Working Together for Human Rights.
All have consultant status with the United Nations (Resolution 1296 of the ECOSOC)
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Tel. 53 99 05 92.
Fax: 53 99 13 36.
This post is also available in: Spanish