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Vehicles lined up at a blockade in Oaxaca this week. Vehicles lined up at a blockade in Oaxaca this week.

‘Go ahead and protest but don’t harm others’

But union says 'bilateral talks' are only a start and blockades will continue

Teachers’ union leaders should be sending a message to the rank and file that protests in Oaxaca and Chiapas must not cause harm to other citizens, said Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong yesterday.

But it’s not just the rank and file that’s not getting the message but the leaders themselves.

The secretary said the demand of the CNTE teachers’ union in mounting highway blockades in Oaxaca was that there be dialogue with the federal government. Now that they have it, he said, referring to Wednesday’s meeting in Mexico City and another that is set for Monday, it’s time to end the blockades so conditions can return to normal.

But the acting leader of the Oaxaca union local, Section 22, said the blockades will remain until there is justice for the eight deaths in Nochixtlán on Sunday, the repeal of education reforms and the unconditional release of union leaders from prison.

The union said in a statement that “in spite of having achieved bilateral dialogue . . . we still have not entered the stage where concrete agreements are being made over our demands.”

The course of action being taken by the CNTE and “our brothers in social, academic and intellectual organizations and all those prepared to fight for the defense of public education” will not be modified.

A blockade organizer, Jorge Luis Flores, also said the blockades would remain as would the strategy to prevent the passage of transport trucks carrying the goods of transational companies or petroleum products.

The union will remain on “high alert,” said another spokesman, and expects answers from the federal government at the next meeting with officials, scheduled for Monday in Mexico City.

The newspaper El Universal reported there were 20 blockades in Oaxaca yesterday. At some, only privately-owned passenger vehicles are allowed through. At others, vehicles are allowed to pass every five hours. And some are charging drivers 50 to 100 pesos to proceed.

However, fewer vehicles are on the road anyway because of fuel shortages. El Universal said there has been no gasoline in Huatulco for five days and that it is being rationed in Puerto Escondido.

The newspaper Milenio reported this morning that the blockades have intensified with the addition of new ones in Chiapas that have paralyzed the movement of traffic at the Guatemala border.

Source: El Universal (sp), El Financiero (sp), Reforma (sp)

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