Thursday, June 22, 2006

Conflict Coverage and Sickness

Feeling a bit under the weather today so this will be brief. There was an organized march in support of the government today, a sort of counter protest to the teacher movement or a peaceful march to show solidarity with the governor, however you want to look at it. Things are getting complicated because the demonstrations in the zocalo are no longer just about teachers' wages, now other groups have joined them and are demanding the ouster of the governor who belongs to the PRI party and is good friends with the PRI presidential candidate. Despite the potential for violence (our school was closed today and we had class at the instructors house), everything was peaceful, about 10k people were brought in from areas outside of Oaxaca to march. The teachers had actually cut off all the major arteries into the city to prevent the march from occurring with any substantial participation but they still managed to produce about 10k. I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that one of the ways the PRI secured votes and support was by participating in a reciprocal relationship of sorts with squatter settlements. Well this extends beyond squatter settlements to those that work in the government, which, as mentioned above, in Oaxaca is in the hands of the PRI. It is understood that if you have a government job you will participate in the march, wear a white shirt and then at the end of the "festivities" you receive lunch (if losing your job wasn't enough incentive) by handing over your white shirt. Anyway, I think my sickness is making if difficult for me to make sense so here is an article from the NYT that will help. This article is a bit too focused on the presidential election which is really a peripheral concern to those currently inhabiting the zocalo but at least it gives you a flavor for what is happening.

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