On Tuesday 19 July–one of the first days of the celebration of the traditional festival Guelaguetza in the state of Oaxaca–conflicts broke out in the zócalo and the Alameda de León in Oaxaca de Juárez between vendors and units of the municipal police. According to witnesses, at around 11am on the 19th municipal inspectors arrived at la Alameda accompanied by police-officers; they demanded that informal vendors associated with the organization “June 14″ leave the place, a demand that the vendors refused to obey. In response to this, a police operation to displace nearly 100 vendors from the zócalo was undertaken, as between 100 and 300 police units employed tear-gas and pepper-spray toward this end. Witnesses say that some of the vendors responded by throwing rocks, chairs, and tables at the Terranova restaurant, property of relatives of the PRI ex-candidate for mayorship of the city, Beatriz Rodríguez Casasnova, while masked youth confronted the police. Once the police operation ended, police-officers stationed themselves in both places to prevent the return of the vendors. The operations as a whole resulted in two people being injured and eight being detained; among the eight were four minors.
Those who were evicted, in addition to those who were subject to the dismantling of their kiosks by the police, pertain to the social organizations Venustiano Carranza, June 14, Organization of Conscious Vendors in Support of the Magisterium, and APPO, in addition to independent vendors. The displaced vendors had installed themselves in the zócalo and la Alameda last Friday in preparation for the festivities associated with the Guelaguetza celebration. Alberto Quezadas Jiménez, chief of Oaxaca’s state police, stated that the deployment of the police had been requested by municipal authorities, given that the vendors in question lacked official permission to remain in the plaza. The governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, said in an interview on Tuesday that the eviction of the vendors sought to “guarantee security for tourism and Oaxacans.” Following the events, Ruiz Ortiz made a call for tranquility to prevail and declared that the Guelaguetza celebrations should continue without pause.
For more information (in Spanish):
Eviction in the Zócalo (El Imparcial, 20 July)
Violent Guelaguetza (El Imparcial, 20 July)
Eviction of vendors in the zócalo of Oaxaca leaves 8 arrested (La Jornada, 19 July)
Vendors are evicted in the capital of Oaxaca; 2 injured, 8 arrested (La Jornada, 19 July)
Ulises Ruiz visits the zócalo following the eviction of vendors (Noticias de Oaxaca, 19 July)