It’s the morning after the day and night before — and I don’t even know where to begin.
The very short and immediate version is: Yesterday afternoon about 50 miles north of the city in Nochixtlán, six demonstrators were killed when federal police moved in to breakup a 5-day long blockade by Sección 22 of the teachers union on the main highway between here and Puebla. As the police moved toward the city, there was another battle about 8 miles north near San Pablo Etla, and then last night about 7:30 a helicopter began flying over the city, smoke rose from near the teachers’ encampment in the zócalo (about 4 blocks away), and shouting and explosions were heard. It was still going on when I fell asleep around midnight.
It’s Monday morning, but all was eerily quiet when I awoke. Very little traffic on my usually busy street and almost no buses to be seen or heard. Television news and local papers are hopeless, so I began monitoring five Facebook groups dedicated to blockades, demonstrations, traffic, etc. and Twitter for news.
Needing a few groceries (I know that seems to be a constant theme, but I don’t have a car here, so can only buy what I can carry) and wanting to see what went on last night, my neighbor and I ventured out onto the streets. The acrid smell of smoke was still evident and, at almost every intersection, beginning with the one half a block down our street, tires were still smoldering. The closer we got to the zócalo, the more graffiti and damage we saw.
Oxxo on Morelos at Garcia Vigil had been vandalized and was closed, the windows of Catedral had been broken but the restaurant was open, and all the ATMs in BanNorte had been damaged, but the tellers were in place and banking was being done. However, it’s like a Sunday morning, with few people on the streets.
The teachers’ plantón (encampment) on and surrounding the zócalo remains, but it was dirty and depressing and there were a couple of drunk guys, so we opted not to venture further. Instead, we continued east on Independencia, passing more broken windows, scrawled messages on walls denouncing the federal and state governments and warning all that it has only just begun.
If you want background and more detailed reports, you can check out posts from Oaxaca at http://elenemigocomun.net/. Yes, I know, it’s from the perspective of the teachers and protestors — I figure the “mainstream” media has got the government’s point of view covered.
Stencil photos were taken a few days ago on Garcia Vigil, between Independencia and Morelos. Yes, I did take photos this morning of the remnants of last night’s events, but I just can’t bring myself to post them. The mood is sad and wary — no one knows how and when this will end — and the ghosts of 2006 hang over the city.
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