Protesting teachers remain in the main square of the city of Oaxaca, but the vendors who arrived with them last spring have been gone since Sunday.
Early Sunday morning 500 municipal and state police evicted 300 to 400 street vendors who had been installed in the square, or the zócalo, and the adjacent Alameda. The vendors had arrived last May along with the radical Section 22 of the CNTE teachers’ union, which has been encamped there since, and has been charging the vendors for the spaces they occupy.
The union was collecting up to 400 pesos daily for the “right” to be installed in the public square, and also required the stall-holders to hang placards bearing union propaganda messages such as “Structural reforms will not pass in Oaxaca,” “No to education reform” and demands concerning the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa.
Following Sunday’s eviction, upset vendors are demanding protection and support from Section 22 so they can return to the zócalo and reinstall their stands.
Later in the day they protested outside the Section 22 offices, questioning the union’s absence during the eviction and requesting the defense of their interests or the reimbursement of fees.
In a separate event, Section 22 technical secretary Gustavo Manzano Sosa expressed his disapproval of the eviction of the vendors, nine of whom were reported injured during the morning’s events.
“The tradesmen must return to the zócalo, at the right moment,” he warned. “Our movement won’t be repressed. There must be communication and negotiations, as our demands seek social and employment benefits and to defend the rights of workers.”
He added that Section 22 is preparing national demonstrations beginning June 1, but didn’t discount the possibility that other actions might take place before that date. He also confirmed that the zócalo will remain occupied until the teachers’ list of demands is satisfactorily met.