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LOCAL News :: Globalization : Media : Protest Activity

Richmonders Act In Solidarity With Oaxaca

The escalation of violent repression in Oaxaca, Mexico continues. In response, a group of Richmonders organized a symbolic action on Nov. 20 to call attention to the struggle in Oaxaca.

In early May 2006, 70,000 teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico went on strike to demand better teaching conditions, increased resources for their schools, and better wages. By order of Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, their strike was met with violent attack by state police and paramilitary forces.
Hundreds of organizations from across Oaxaca responded by forming Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (APPO). The people of Oaxaca took over local radio and television stations in order to make their message heard without censorship. APPO’s central demand is for the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. In addition, they have pressed for the immediate withdrawal of the occupying federal and paramilitary forces from Oaxaca, amnesty for all political prisoners, the cancellation of all arrest warrants, and justice for all those murdered.
Since then, state violence against those working with APPO has resulted in the known deaths of fifteen people, many wounded, and the destruction of infrastructure. The Oct. 29 murder of Indymedia journalist Brad Will is being used as an excuse to escalate the violent repression.

The Zapatistas issued a call for joint solidarity actions across Mexico, leading to a nationwide shut-down on the 20th of November, 2006. Narco News has confirmed sources that the EZLN and civilian supporters have shut down traffic and eight routes to and from San Cristobal, and unconfirmed reports of blockades at various points from Tapachula to the Oaxaca border.

On Nov. 20 Richmonders organized a symbolic action in solidarity with APPO and the EZLN. A group of people symbolically represented those murdered in defense of their community by performing a die-in outside the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Wachovia headquarters, and Shafer Court (VCU). Chalk outlines were drawn around the bodies and the names of those murdered were written around them. In Oaxaca they have created a new dynamic in the way the media operates; instead of being accountable to shareholders, the media is accountable the community which it serves. The possibilities of fostering the growth of this dynamic exist here in Richmond through resources like Richmond Indymedia Center, WRIR 97.3 Richmond Independent Radio, The Richmond Defender, or even through unconventional media outlets like street theater. The energy galvanized by the events in Oaxaca has granted us an opportunity to act in true solidarity by continuing some of the work they are doing in Oaxaca in our community.

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