Thursday, June 15, 2006

Violence Against Striking Teachers in Mexico

Police have launched a massive assault on striking teachers in the department of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Geoffry Harman reports in the Narco News Bulletin:

"In a scene that is starting to look all too familiar in Mexico, the police attempted to disrupt the Oaxaca teachers strike in downtown Oaxaca City this morning. At roughly 3 a.m. a police helicopter flew low over the tent city where the teachers have been camped for the past 23 days and shot canisters of tear gas. Meanwhile, 3,000 state police armed with riot shields and clubs entered the chaos and tore apart the roughshod shelters where the teachers had been staying. During the course of the six-hour police intervention three people were reported to have been killed (this is unconfirmed), two women and one child."
The assault comes right before Mexico's election, and just a month after a similar police assault on demonstrators in Atenco just outside Mexico City which involved the arrest of 200 people, the rape or sexual assault of 30 women in police custody, and the death of two protesters -- a 14 year old and a 20 year old. Two U.S. political consultants were involved in planning the attack on Atenco.

Journalist John Ross who has covered political movements in Mexico for decades sees the attacks as a sign of the resurgence of tactics used in the "dirty war" against Mexican dissidents in the 1970's and 1980's.

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