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Mexican Government Fears Spread of Oaxaca Civil Society Uprising - Interview

As the movement of teachers, students, workers and indigenous groups marked six months of continuous protest in the Mexican city of Oaxaca, violence again erupted in the streets on Nov. 20, the day Mexicans celebrated the 96th anniversary of their nation's 1910 revolution. Running battles between the Federal Preventative Police -- firing tear gas and activists armed with sticks, slingshots and fireworks -- resulted in dozens of injuries and arrests.

Protests began in May, when teachers went out on strike demanding a pay increase and books for students. Oaxaca's Gov. Ulises Ruiz ordered police to attack the teachers and their supporters. That confrontation galvanized the teachers, sparked a civil society uprising and the formation of The People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca or APPO, which demanded the removal of Gov. Ruiz, who many accuse of winning office by stealing the 2004 state election.

At the end of October, Mexican President Vicente Fox sent 4,000 federal troops to Oaxaca to remove protesters from the colonial city's central plaza, after more than a dozen people -- including Brad Will, an independent U.S. journalist -- had been killed by gunmen, whom protesters identify as undercover government agents. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Jonathan Treat, a journalist living in Oaxaca and coordinator of the Oaxaca Solidarity Network, who provides a brief history of the conflict and describes the current tense situation in the city.

Between The Lines online Audio broadcast

Oaxaca Solidarity Working Meeting in Portland, OR at Liberty Hall Monday, Nov. 27 / 5-7 p.m.

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