In southern Mexico’s Oaxaca City, supporters of the People’s Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) again took to the streets Friday to demand the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz, the release of political prisoners and the withdrawal of federal police. Democracy Now! producer Elizabeth Press files a report from the streets of Oaxaca. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: As we turn south to Mexico, the southern state of Oaxaca, where supporters of the People’s Popular Assembly of Oaxaca again took to the streets on Friday, known as APPO, to demand the resignation of the governor and the release of political prisoners and the withdrawal of federal police from the city. In 37 countries around the world, protests were held as a day of international solidarity with APPO. Democracy Now! producer, Elizabeth Press, was in Oaxaca for the protest. She filed this report.
ELIZABETH PRESS: Some 8,000 people marched on Friday in Oaxaca. People in the march were angry, but they were also afraid. This APPO member did not want to be identified.
APPO MEMBER: [translated] This march is to show the people, the world and every society that the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca is alive and present. We have never given up the fight, and we will keep moving forward. We will never give up the call for the resignation of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. We have to show that the APPO and the teachers of Oaxaca are continuing the struggle.
ELIZABETH PRESS: The march stayed clear of the city center, or zocalo, to avoid contact with state police, who had barricaded all the entrances. Family members held signs of the disappeared and detained. Youth re-tagged freshly painted buildings, and the march ended peacefully in a rally at Danza Plaza.
Rene Trujillo is a member of the student sector of APPO. He marched despite having been detained and beaten weeks before for his involvement with the popular movement.
RENE TRUJILLO: [translated] They beat us even though we had been beaten already. We were interrogated. Right away, they started asking questions about other people who were participants in the movement, and they tried to suffocate us with plastic bags. Later, they gave us electric shocks on various parts of our bodies while they continued to ask us the same things, asking us for names and addresses of friends in the movement, asking us who were the leaders of the popular movement, who was running the radio, how many people were there at the university radio station. At the same time, they hit us with wet rags so the marks didn’t become visible. There was an attempted rape. They pulled down one of my friends pants and tried to rape him. They threatened to kill our families
ELIZABETH PRESS: This weekend was also the century-old Festival of the Radish, in which Oaxacans carve, yes, giant radishes. On Saturday, APPO held its own alternative night of the radishes, even after the federal police tried to shut it down. These radish sculptures depict the conflict between police and the People’s Assembly. On Sunday, another 18 prisoners were released from the Oaxacan state prison. From Oaxaca, this is Elizabeth Press reporting for Democracy Now!
AMY GOODMAN: And that’s some of the news from Oaxaca. Thanks to Elizabeth Press.