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El Zòcalo de Oaxaca: Reopened, `cleaned up,' and full of soldiers
After another tense (Monday) night of barricades and threats, the people of Oaxaca City awoke this morning to find the PFP barricades somewhat loosened...
After the tremendous show of force on Sunday, storming the city and killing two, the Federal Preventative Police have opened their new-and-improved Zòcalo to the general public. It looks like they´ve spent the whole night painting over graffiti, but there´s still a lot of work left to do. The city is still tense, but the overwhelming response to Sunday´s invasion was militant defiance... with a pragmatic non-violent stance that bowed to the overwhelming force of tanks, helicopters, water cannons, tear gas, bulldozers, and thousands of federal troops.
The PFP retook the Palácio Municipál on the Zócalo, essentially the Capital Building, and sent government and military officials inside for the first time in months.
The next step after storming the Zócalo was obviously to re-paint. Months of unabated graffiti seems to be the most egregous violation of the law in the past few months, and the military immediately set to work painting over slogans and calls for the removal of the governor, who incidentally still has not arrived in the state of Oaxaca. The military has not, however, stormed the homes of any of the identified killers of local teachers, children, neighbors, or indymedia journalists in order to restore law and order in Oaxaca.
While the soldiers occupied the Zócalo, they also occupied the same tents, beds, and sofas the teachers has been spending their days and nights in. In fact, aside from the camo and guns, the Zócalo doesn´t look *all that* different today: The soldiers set up mobile kitchens remarkably similar to those set up by APPO, pitched their own tents, unrolled bedrolls that might have come from some of the same mothers.
They brought portapotties, though, and have evicted most of the vendors and shut down all the kiosks. They sat on the same benches and pretty much occupied the Zócalo with their own camoflauged high-budget (armed) plantón.
A few things still need to get painted over, apparently.
Evidence of subtle resistance?
Cleaning up after the battle
(just add impunity)
Sporadic tear gas canon shots rang out yesterday, as crowds chanted (and taunted) in front of the police lines. Some were obviously PRIsta provocateurs (They stick out in a crowd of people who have spent the past five months in the street). Today there was a PRIsta march in support of the PFP arriving to liberate the investors from the clutches of the school teachers.
And there they sat, just as the teachers did for months, reading the newspapers--without a visible trace of irony.
The barricades were cleared and loaded into a row of garbage trucks: burned cars, sand bags, rocks, aluminum sheeting, barbed wire...
This stencil has been all around town for weeks, but it´s been a strange sight to see this week.
Oh and what of the teachers?? Unintimidated, they´ve simply moved up the road a few blocks, occupying the surrounding plazas and church squares. Just as many are in the streets all day every day. Just as many continue with the same demands, the same resistance to the impositions of the invading federal government. APPO, the SNTE, and above all the people of Oaxaca continue to struggle and resist despite the presence of the military in their city. Negotiations in México City, D.F. continue. URO continues to feign a hold on power from afar. The Senate makes decisions based on party politics, and the poor of Oaxaca continue to starve. So the big news is that the troops have come... but nothing´s changed on the ground in Oaxaca. The big story is that the occupation was symbolic and brutal, while the resistance was symbolic and non-violent. Adelante--we´ll see who makes the next move.