On 15 February, protestors comprised largely of teachers from Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) and other social activists clashed with state and federal police while attempting to enter the zócalo of Oaxaca de Juárez to express their rejection of the visit by President Felipe Calderón to the city. At least 28 people were injured, including teachers, journalsits, photographers, and police. The mobilization was organized in response to the presidential decree made on 14 February that tuition for private schools would be made tax-free, a move that social sectors have interpreted as yet another assault on public education.
The following day, teachers from Section 22 of the SNTE struck in Oaxaca de Juárez and several regions of the state, blocking more than 37 highway points of the Oaxacan state in protest of the repression. In the capital, directors of the democratic teachers union led by Azael Santiago Chepi challenged the declarations made the same day by Governor Gabino Cué that “infiltrator groups provoked violence,” affirming this to be “a demagogical argument to justify repression.” On the other hand, they demanded the resignation of three state functionaries as a condition for the re-starting of dialogue with the state government. The State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) initiated seven investigations into crimes committed during the confrontations, while 17 members of the popular movement who had been detained were released because they were found not to have committed any crime.
On 17 February, Gabino Cué Monteagudo rejected calls to apologize to the state teachers union as well as to sack Irma Piñeyro Arias, secretary of Government, Marco Tulio López Escamilla, secretary of Public Security, and Bernardo Vásquez Guzmán, director of the State Institute of Public Education in Oaxaca. He claimed that “if someone should be apologized to for the situation lived recently in the center of the city of Oaxaca [the confrontation on Tuesday between state and federal police and teachers], it would be to the people in general, who have given us the responsibility of assuming a role in the process of democratic transition—both to the authorities and other sectors.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Teachers and police engage in confrontation during visit by Calderón to Oaxaca (La Jornada, 15 February)
Teachers reject visit of Calderón to Oaxaca (El Universal, 15 February)
Journalist is shot in Oaxaca (El Universal, 15 February)
Secretary of security is beaten in Oaxaca (El Universal, 15 February)
SNTE blocks 37 highway-points in Oaxaca (El Universal, 16 February)
Cué sees radicals infiltrating confrontations (El Universal, 16 February)
“2006 cannot return to Oaxaca” (El Universal, 16 February)
Police and activists clash in Oaxaca; 18 are injured (El Universal, 16 February)
Cué rejects calls for apologies and resignation of 3 officials, as demanded by dissidents (La Jornada, 18 February)