I had pretty much ignored this because it didn't seem to be a major deal but, in the interest of fairness, it needs to be mentioned. A woman had accused PFP officers manning one of the lines outside the Zócalo of trying to tear off her clothes. APPO whipped up about 300 (200 to 500, depending) women and they marched on the Zócalo. PFP officers defended themselves with "pepper" spray.
As the story has evolved, the woman making the original complaint about being partially disrobed has disappeared and the complaint from APPO has been reduced to "harrassment of women" at PFP checkpoints. This may or may not be happening, but if it is, it needs to be stopped, right now or sooner. With all the other problems we have here, PFP officers making rude comments to women is about the last thing we need to hear anything about.
The women marched from APPO's winter encampment (Valle Forge) at Santo Domingo down the street 4 blocks towards the Zócalo. They stopped just inches away from the PFP and began chanting slogans, hurling insults and threatening the PFP with rocks, clubs, broomsticks and cooking utensils. After realizing that no housewives had yet been machine-gunned to death in the streets and there were not yet rivers of blood running in the gutters, the women became emboldened.
When some of the women began to push and shove against the officers' line and whack at them with frying pans and broomsticks, water was sprayed on them. The water had been mixed with chile. A photographer from Reforma took a shot directly in the eyes and had to be led away for a few minutes. He recovered and returned to duty laughingly, and tearfully, saying, "Well, I'm still alive."
This is probably a tempest in a teapot (no pun intended . . . check that . . . pun fully intended) but is an indication of a couple of things. First, the PFP and other authorities must keep their noses absolutely, positively, squeaky clean. They may not be adhering to this as closely as they must. Second, if this had happened two weeks ago or more, APPO would have had 10,000 in the streets.
The somewhat disappointing turnout for this riot coupled with APPO's probable abandonment of its Juarez University barricades (I'll be checking this out later), may indicate that this revolution is beginning to wither on the vine. We'll see.
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TAGS: Oaxaca, Mexico, Oaxaca teachers strike, APPO, sexual harrassment