============================================================================ From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••> To: "Social Movements List" <•••@••.•••> Subject: Mexico City protest Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 08:30:23 -0800 Reply-to: •••@••.••• Sender: •••@••.••• Comments: Originally To: •••@••.••• Mime-Version: 1.0 Thursday, February 10 2000 More than 100,000 in Mexico City protest arrest of striking students More than 100,000 people demonstrated in Mexico City on Wednesday to demand the liberation of students arrested when police regained control of the country's main campus closed by a nine-month strike. The demonstration, which included students, parents of the detainees, trade unions and leftist groups, was the largest in 12 years in Mexico, and came at the height of campaigning for July 2 presidential elections. Chanting "freedom, freedom," the demonstrators demanded the release of the 85 students still held since police took control of UNAM's main campus on Sunday. They held up banners pledging to continue their strike even though they lost control of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Latin America's largest university, which they had blockaded for more than nine months. The demonstrators also chanted slogans calling for an end of the Institutional Ruling Party (PRI)'s 70-year hold on power. Chants of "not a vote for the PRI" echoed across the historic city center as more than 100,000 people -- some estimates put the number of 150,000 people -- converged on the central Zocalo square. The PRI's candidate, ex-Interior Minister Francisco Labastida is by far the favorite to win the presidential election. The leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), among those who took part in the protest, trailed far behind, with opinion polls showing its candidate, ex-Mexico City Mayor Cuahtemoc Cardenas trailing about 15 points behind his PRI rival. It took more than three hours for all protesters to complete the four-kilometer (2.5-mile) march from the landmark monument to independence to the Zocalo. Demonstrators said the protest was similar in size to those held in 1968, which ended when police opened fire on some students on October 2 of that year, killing about 300 people. There was no immediate report of incidents in Wednesday's march. Earlier in the day, police handed the UNAM facilities back to university officials. A total of 745 people were held as police took control of university buildings and dismantled barricades. All but 85 of them have since been released. Rebel leader subcommander Marcos denounced Wednesday what he described as the jailing of "hundreds of young students in clear violation of the law, common sense and reason." "No one can talk of democracy in this country as long as students fill the jails," said Marcos, leader of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), which continues to campaign for indigenous rights from its base in the southern state of Chiapas. Marcos said in a statement that the EZLN fully supported protests against the detentions and called for "a national mobilization to protest the aggression against the national university." It was after the failure of previous attempts at dialogue that the government-level decision was taken to apply for a court order authorizing Sunday's evictions and arrests. The most radical group among the students had refused to accept the results of a referendum conducted by university authorities on January 20, in which almost 90 percent of university students and personnel who voted said they wanted classes to resume. The strike began last year in protest at plans to introduce tuition fees in the public university. But students added new demands after university officials subsequently withdrew the fees. ============================================================================ From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••> To: "Social Movements List" <•••@••.•••> Subject: Massive demonstration in Mexico City Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 08:41:23 -0800 Reply-to: •••@••.••• Sender: •••@••.••• Comments: Originally To: •••@••.••• Mime-Version: 1.0 [Note: Over one hundred thousand people marched in Mexico City yesterday in a dramatic demonstration of repudiation to the police takeover of the UNAM and in support of the hundreds of students held prisoners. Of course, the monopolized TV in Mexico did not cover it. The summary below of the strike and the call for support comes from the General Strike Council via various websites. Detailed articles (in Spanish), photos, and political cartoons, may be found in today's (2/10/2000) web version of La Jornada at http://unam.netgate.net/jornada/ Gonzalo Santos California State University - Bakersfield SUMMARY Approximately ten months ago, the students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) voted to go on indefinite strike to protest plans of then-university president Francisco Barnés de Castro to charge tuition to students for the first time (even though free and universal higher education is a constitutional right, not a privilege, in Mexico) and to carry out a series of neoliberal reforms to the institution which were unacceptable to the student population. The students managed to force Barnés' resignation late last year, and they also scored a victory in the cancellation of the decision to charge tuition. However, negotiations stalled over the students' demands for a University Congress to be convened with student participation in order to discuss the current state of the UNAM and make binding decisions regarding university policy and the reshaping of the institution. In January 2000, UNAM president Juan Ramón de la Fuente proposed his own plan for a University Congress - but instead of submitting it as a counterproposal in negotiations with students, he submitted it to a "consultation" of the University community. Contrary to what has been endlessly repeated (incorrectly) in the international press, less than half of the UNAM student body took part in the president's "consultation", although many did support the proposal in the thought that it would lead to further negotiations. Most did not believe the warnings of the General Strike Council that the consultation would be used as justification for military or police intervention in the UNAM. That is, in fact, what happened. Armed with the results of his "consultation", De la Fuente insisted there would be no further negotiations with the Strike Council until the strike was called off and classes resumed. Meanwhile, arrest warrants were issued for student leaders. As they had done for the past several months, students continually called on the university administration to sit down at the negotiating table. But De la Fuente insisted he would only talk about the conditions for the immediate and unconditional end to the strike - not about any of the student demands. As a prelude of things to come, a violent altercation broke out in a striking high school affiliated with the UNAM on February 1st. Provocateurs attempted to violently enter the school and forcibly expel those inside, both strikers and anti-strikers, who just moments before had formed a joint student coalition in defense of general student interests and in favor of a peaceful and negotiated end to the conflict at the university. The violence was followed by the arrival of the unconstitutional Federal Preventative Police (PFP- a new national police force of army soldiers dressed in policemen's clothes), who proceeded to take over the school and arrest 251 students. Many were roughed up and some were beaten during their detention. One week later, in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, February 6, more than 2,000 members of the PFP invaded the main campus of the UNAM, in flagrant violation of university autonomy, and arrested 745 students and professors. Although most of those arrested have since been released, more than 300 are still imprisoned, and at least 264 are facing criminal charges, some of which are severe, for their participation in the student movement. Meanwhile, the crackdown continues, as 395 arrest warrants for student leaders not yet detained are still in effect. The following is a statistical summary of the current situation of the student prisoners, followed by a list of names of those still in jail for standing up for their rights and their university. * Total number of persons detained on February 1 and February 6 during the illegal intervention of the Federal Preventative Police (a militarized national police force) on the campuses of the National Autonomous University of Mexico: 998 * Total number of persons freed since: 656 * Total number of students arrested for "flagrant crimes": 227 * Total number of students and professors arrested under outstanding warrants: 37 * Total number of students and professors facing criminal charges: 264 * Charges filed against them (varying by case):terrorism, looting/"dispossesion", riot, sabotage, violations of the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives, criminal association, robbery, and damages. * Total number of minors currently imprisoned under the custody of the Protective Council of Minors: 78 * Total number of political prisoners from the UNAM: 342 * Total number of students with outstanding warrants for their arrest, who could be detained at any moment: 395 Source: Mexican Attorney General's Office * * * * * * * * * * What You Can Do to Help The international press spoke of the military-police takeover of the UNAM as "nonviolent" and "surprisingly smooth". It did not mention that such action was illegal. Nor has it bothered to mention the 998 detentions, the 342 students still imprisoned, the 264 students facing criminal charges, the 85 students accused of terrorism, and the witch-hunt currently underway against leaders of the ten-month old movement. The message of the Mexican government is that fighting for free education, as guaranteed in the Mexican Constitution, or struggling for greater student voices in university affairs, is legally equivalent to being a terrorist and a sabateur. This message must not go unanswered. From outside Mexico, the most important thing you can do to help free the prisoners is to put pressure on the Mexican government, to let them know that you are aware of the situation at the UNAM, and to tell them that thousands of people from around the world condemn the attempt to use force to crush the student movement; insist on a real dialogue between the General Strike Council (CGH) and the university authorities; and demand the immediate and unconditional liberation of all 342 political prisoners, as well as the cancellation of the 432 arrest warrants currently in effect against leaders of the student movement. Also, contact your deputies, ministers, and representatives in Parliament or Congress to inform them of the decision of the Mexican government to use repression and force against a legitimate student movement expressing basic educational demands. Ask them to convey your wish that your country not engage in commerce with nations whose governments imprison their students by the hundreds instead of talking with them to find a resolution to their grievances. The contact information for important Mexican government figures is below. Please send them emails, faxes, letters, and phone calls: Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos Palacio Nacional Patio de Honor, Piso 1, Col. Centro 06067 México DF Tel (525)-395 67 00, 272 69 03, 515 57 14 Fax (525) 52 77 23 76 •••@••.••• Webpage: http://www.presidencia.gob.mx Lic. Diodoro Carrasco Altamirano Interior Minister Bucareli 99 piso1 Col. Juarez México, D.F. 06699 Tel: (525) 7 05 21 71 Fax: (525) 7 03 21 71 Dr. Jorge Madrazo Cuellar Attorney General Ave. Reforma esq. Violeta Mexico, D. F. C.P. 06300 Tel: (525) 626 44 26 Fax: (525) 3 46 09 57 Dr. José Luis Soberanes Fernández President of the National Human Rights Commission Periferico Sur 3469, Col. San Jerónimo Lidice 10200, México, D.F. Tel: 631 00 40, 6 81 81 25 Fax: 6 81 71 99, 6 81 92 39 Lada sin costo desde México: 01 800 00 869 Email: •••@••.••• Email: •••@••.••• The addresses, emails, phone and fax numbers of Mexican diplomatic installations (Embassies, consulates, etc.) around the world are located at http://www.sre.gob.mx/delegaciones/ courtesy of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Mexican government. Finally, send a message to the General Strike Council at •••@••.••• expressing your support for their cause. Freedom for all the political prisoners of the UNAM! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Richard K Moore Wexford, Irleand Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ book in progress: http://cyberjournal.org/cdr/gri/gri.html A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. .