Friday, March 09, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: The aftermath of yesterday's Sección 22/APPO march

Yesterday, now Thursday since I am late to the post with this post, marked the 10th, or 100th mega-march, I'm not sure which. Attended by some 8000 attendees and participated in by the same 8000 participants, the march was not without incident. The 8000 number is that given by government sources. Sección 22 and APPO are, of course, claiming 800,000. So, we split the difference and call it 8001 marchers.

A group of about 40 "youths" began spray painting houses and businesses along the route. This brought on the first confrontation between teachers and the APPO thugs. While much jawing was taking place, a tour bus happened along. The "youths" attacked the bus with their spray paint. The teachers then stepped forward again to ask that the "youths" desist. The "youths" attacked the teachers with kicks, punches, oranges, rocks, bottles and were now throwing the cans of spray paint. After about 30 minutes, the overwhelming number of teachers managed to drive off the APPO thugs.

APPO is, of course, claiming complete innocence, accusing Governor Ruiz Ortiz of sending the thugs to "stain the teachers peaceful movement". Right.

The teachers, not wishing to now be accused of pacifism, sent a contingent of about 15 gorillas to attack and break into the home of one Pedro Gómez Castillejos, also a teacher as well as a fellow activist. It's just that he's affiliated with Sección 59 rather than Sección 22. Sección 59, if you'll so kindly recall, is the teachers' union that also teaches school. Sección 22 is the teachers union that unionizes, marches, camps out in the zócalo, craps all over the city and state etc. etc.

Profesor Gómez Castillejos was not at home at the time. Probably he was off frittering away valuable protest/march/rock-throwing/spray painting time teaching school somewhere. So the Sección 22 gorillas attacked his wife and sons, instead -- right in their own dining room.

The gorillas first tore down the front gate, then started bashing away at the walls, windows and doors as they forced their way into the house.
"'You are the sons of Castillejos,' they said and they began hammering on the walls of my home," said Mrs. Castillejos (who is also a teacher). "

"They started throwing rocks at me, so many it was like a hailstorm. Thank God I was able to survive that. But look (showing her broken left arm), a teacher hit me with a club."
Now, keep in mind that this assault on a woman and her children took place inside her house. Her son says he recognized one of the attackers, a Profesor José Alberto Sol Techacha.

José Alberto Sol Techacha,
I know a Mayan priest who'd like a word or two with you.
For, ah, cleansing purposes, of course.

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