This past May, teachers from Oaxaca, Mexico, went on strike demanding pay increases, improved working conditions and increased spending for school meals, uniforms and supplies. These teachers are a part of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE).

No Sweat Briefing, a British news source, gives a rundown of the history of the strike, and the struggles of the people of Oaxaca.

In June, the teachers had set up protest camps. Governor Ortiz sent over 1,000 state police into Oaxaca city center before dawn to break up the teachers’ protest camps using tear gas and beating protesters with clubs. The teachers were able to regroup and resumed their protests. In response, the teachers, along with protesters who were in solidarity with them, demanded that Governor Ortiz resign from office.

The people opposed to Ortiz organized from trade unions, community organizations, and poor peasant groups and formed the “Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca” (APPO).

In July, the APPO initiated a series of direct actions in hopes to force Ortiz’s resignation, by setting up protest camps outside of all state government buildings.

In August, thousands of women from the APPO marched through Oaxaca City and took over the radio station transmitter.

In response, the state and federal police started shooting at the protesters, and arrested APPO leaders. They disassembled the state tv and radio. Then, the APPO created barricades around the city to protect the people from the state and federal police.

In September, members of APPO began negotiations in Mexico City with the Minister of the Interior, Carlos Abascal. The APPO had stated that their request was for the resignation of Governor Ortiz, but The Interior Ministry refused. The talks were stalled, and the SNTE and the APPO organized protest marches that led to Mexico City with their demands that Ortiz resign.

According to No Sweat Briefing, “President Vicente Fox met with eleven governors… to discuss the conflict in Oaxaca. Fox said that he would solve the problem in Oaxaca before November 30, the last day of his presidential term.”

Negotiations have resumed, but agreements still have not been made. President Fox authorized the use of force on his citizens.

According to Boston IndyMedia November 20th was the day that the world stood in solidarity with the teachers in Oaxaca. From Boston to San Francisco, from Toronto to London, there have been peaceful demonstrations to support the teachers and to bring attention to the atrocities and killing of the teachers in Mexico, just for wanting decent wages, better work conditions and supplies for their schools.

Heather Kuhn is an author who blogs on TodaysNews and the Bloggers News Network

Be Sociable, Share!