@I have a camera that was left on the altar at today's action. Mail me with description and I will get it to you.@
About 70 activists braved the cold and whipping wind at the PDX Mexican Consulate this afternoon to support and stand in solidarity with the people of Oaxaca.
What began as a protest by striking teachers in Oaxaca continues months later as the crackdown on dissent claims the lives of those engaged in the struggle for justice.
An altar outside the Consulate began to grow as more people arrived at today's action. Homage was given to those who have lost their lives in the Oaxacan struggle as candles (that wouldn't stay lit!!), food, photos of Oaxacan street fighting, symbols of global solidairty and placards of the names of the deceased piled heavily at the altar.
I arrived just as cleanup crews were removing the broken glass door to the Consulate. Police had shattered the glass to gain entrance to the building after two demonstraters had locked themselves inside and to the front door. The two were taken into custody.
Chris Ferlazzo described to the crowd how police first tried to saw the locks off the demonstraters and then tried the 'jaws of death' to cut through the steel locks holding the protesters to the door. A crew from the Consulate inexplicably covered the police and two demonstraters with a huge tarp, blocking them from the view of gathering activists and independant and mainstream media. The whole affair took about 30 minutes before the 2 arrestees were led away in handcuffs.
A representative from Portland Public Schools spoke about contact with teachers in Oaxaca who have sent updates about the brutal repression that residents there experience daily in the militarized region. The manifestation of military prescence, even when in the abscence of actual state violence, continues to color the daily lives of residents with implied violence.
Two activistas gave an update on the latest Oaxacan events. A PDX IMCista also spoke about the killing of NYC Imcista Brad Will and the importance of continuing independant media work. I also addressed the crowd on the significance of the Mexican Dias de los Muertos altar and how we must know and remember the names of all who have given their lives in this continuing struggle.
Halfway through the speaker presentations, two comrades who had made their way to the 8th floor of the adjoining Consulate building did a banner drop out the window. Spray painted on the huge banner were Mexican calaveras and the words: TODOS SOMOS OAXACA (WE ARE ALL OAXACA). This brought cheers from the crowd.
Toward the end of the action, two reps from the Consulate approached the crowd with the concern that some of the immigrants who had evening appointments were afraid to leave because they feared the crowd might become violent. Pedro Sosa of VOZ took the bullhorn to address this, shouting to those inside the Consulate that we were not gathered to do harm but rather to stand in support with Oaxacans who both live in Mexico and in the U.S. The crowd began to chant words of support in Spanish with raised fists of solidarity. This brought some clapping and a raised fist or two from those on the other side of the fence that separated us from them.
Planning is underway to have a continuous prescence at the Consulate. for more info on this contact PCASC (Portland Central Solidarity Committee at