Today, February 15, federal and state police, thugs dressed in civilian clothes, and snipers located on the roofs of various building in the historic center of Oaxaca provoked and repressed the peaceful teachers’ and Oaxacan peoples’ protest against the presence of Felipe Calderón in Oaxaca.
On the afternoon of Monday, February 14, an enormous deployment of federal and local police bodies, together with the army, took the Zócalo and the adjacent streets of the historic center. At 11:30 in the morning today, February 15, a group of teachers belonging to Section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE carried out a peaceful protest in one of the intersections leading to the Zócalo when the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) attacked, leaving two teachers wounded, one of them the union’s press secretary – Meliton Santiago – and a compañero from the social movement who was shot in the head.
In the face of this aggression, the teachers defended themselves and as a means of protest detained three members of the Federal Preventive Police, which later resulted in a PFP operation where the PFP occupied the union’s building – CEPOS 22 – where the teachers had held the PFP agents, resulting in the violent detention of four professors who were in the building. Upon regrouping at around 2pm, the teachers and the people in general continued their protests in the area while more professors and members of the general public headed towards the Zócalo, where they were dispersed with tear gas and gunfire from snipers located on the roofs of various buildings in the historic center. On Cinco de Mayo Street, still several blocks away from the site of the protests, compañero “kalamar,” who is a member of the Hormigas Libertarias Collective, was hit with gunfire to the head. We feel obligated for the moment to withhold the name of the compañero for legal and security reasons.
On the roof of the Casa Azul Hotel, located on Fiallo Street in the historic center, the repressive police chief Daniel Camarena – an inheritance of Gabino Cué from the murderer Ulises Ruiz – was seen in the company of individuals dressed in civilian clothes who were carrying large firearms, likely sniper rifles.
After two in the afternoon, tens of SUVs drove at high speed through the tourist pedestrian area towards the former Santo Domingo convent where 50 meters from the entrance there was a blockade consisting of 12 soldiers. These SUVs carried some of the committee members of the state and federal governments, who entered the patio of Santo Domingo surrounded by tens of federal police. At approximately 2:30pm at least 50 federal police were in the tourist walkway to reinforce the siege.
Meanwhile, confrontations with the police stretched from the Zócalo to the nearby streets. During this time on Hidalgo Street at Mier y Teran Street, a black car with Puebla license plates TWM 9318 was seen leading a caravan of eight military transport vehicles which carried tens of soldiers and tens of individuals dressed in civilian clothes (at least 100) with striped t-shirts and dark glasses who were “released” into the historic center to carry out destructive acts in order to attribute them to the protesters, among them the burning of a PFP trailer in the Zócalo and apparently a bus on the road to Xoxocotlan. At the same time, the arrival of a PFP airplane at the city airport carrying more federal reinforcements was observed.
As of the time of writing this communiqué, 14 people have been confirmed wounded, two with wounds to the head, the result of shots fired from snipers located on the roofs near the Zócalo of Oaxaca, and one other individual wounded with a live round to the body, as well as two other people who have wounds as a result of being hit by tear gas canisters, all of whom have been hospitalized as a result of the wounds they received.
In ISSSTE hospital in the city of Oaxaca four members of the teachers’ union – two wounded by gunfire and two by tear gas canisters – were admitted. In the same hospital the PFP carried out an impressive operation including patrol vehicles, ambulances and fire trucks to “remove” four wounded members of the PFP who had also been admitted to the same hospital.
This evening, tens of police officers and soldiers are based at Hotel Parador Crespo, located on Crespo Street in the historic center, a location which is less than two blocks from CASOTA, the building where our organization, VOCAL, is based out of.
We denounced these events and hold Felipe Calderón and Gabino Cué Monteagudo directly responsible. Cué has very quickly betrayed the trust of the people of Oaxaca who believed in his promises that never again would the police be used to repress protests.
We denounce the gravity of these events, above all the use of paramilitary shock groups and snipers, as part of a clearly fascist strategy to repress and intimidate the people of Oaxaca and its organizations and organized sectors.
We denounce the institutional and media siege which have roundly denied and ignored the presence of snipers and paramilitary shock groups who infiltrated today’s protests.
We denounce the cynical and perverse attitude of Gabino Cué, who has immediately called for dialogue with the Oaxacan teachers’ union and we point out the danger and strain that the entire Oaxacan social movement may be faced with if these grave events remain unaddressed as a result of political agreements between the government and the leadership of the teachers’ union.
We call for international and national attention to be paid to these events in Oaxaca which appear to inaugurate an era of state fascism on behalf of Felipe Calderón and his flunky in Oaxaca, Gabino Cué Monteagudo.
Today on the streets of Oaxaca it was heard: He’s fallen, Gabino has fallen!
Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL)
Oaxaca de Magón, City of Resistance, February 15, 2011