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New York rallies for murdered Oaxaca teachers

By Michela Martinazzi |
June 26, 2016
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NYC rally against repression in Mexico
NYC rally against repression in Mexico (Photo by Michela Martinazzi)

New York, NY – On June 22, about 150 people rallied and marched in solidarity with the teachers of Oaxaca, Mexico. Facing the Mexican Consulate, protesters gave speeches and chanted to decry the Mexican government’s response to protests in Oaxaca, Mexico.

In Oaxaca, a state in south Mexico, teachers have been protesting against the neoliberal education reforms being pushed by President Nieto. This past Sunday, June 19, teachers and protesters set up blockades protesting the reforms and to stand in solidarity with two union leaders who were arrested the earlier in the week.

The Mexican government sent hordes of police to stop the teachers in the community of Nochixtlan. The cops outnumbered the protesters and immediately, without warning, resorted to violent means to break up the demonstration. The violent and murderous police onslaught lasted four hours. This resulted in nine people dead and more than 100 wounded.

The group, Unidos Con El Pueblo, called the New York action to stand in solidarity with the teachers and against the Mexican government. Throughout the rally, chants such as “Presidente Nieto! Asesino!” “Who did it? The state!” and “Los puercos fascistas son terroristas!” As officials left the consulate, protesters chanted and pointed after them “Asesino!”

An indigenous woman from Oaxaca spoke about how these reforms negatively affected her community, “There are three indigenous languages in Oaxaca and we need teachers who know them to teach the children of our community. These teachers don’t have the resources to pass the government’s evaluations. These reforms are indicative the elite bourgeoisie that is in power.” She ended her speech by saying that this isn’t the first time that the government has used violent means to shut down protesters and she recalled the 46 Ayotzinapa protesters kidnapped by the Mexican authorities.

Towards the end of the rally, the names of the dead were spoken and protesters responded with “Presente!”

Two woman, organizers of the rally, tried to approach the doors of the consulate to have their statement demanding an end to the violent response and justice for the teachers signed by officials. However, before the women were able to reach the door, around five NYPD officers crowded them and jostled them away from the entrance. Protesters, furious, began shouting, “NYPD you have no jurisdiction in Mexico.” After several tense minutes, the officers moved aside and let the two women in. They emerged with a signed paper and determined look on their faces. One of the women told the cameras, “This signature isn’t from the actual consulate. It’s from the Consulate of Justice. They have no authority. This means nothing. We continue on.”

The rally turned into a protest as the crowd marched through Bryant Park and ended in Times Square, telling curious onlookers of the plight of the Oaxaca teachers and urging them to take action.

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