<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #58

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The Traditional Guelaguetza Festival Begins in Oaxaca

Heavy Police Presence Leaves Oaxaca City's Tainted Image Intact

By Nancy Davies
Commentary from Oaxaca

July 19, 2009

During the biggest tourist weekend of the Oaxaca calendar, the riot police came into the zócalo of the capital city to confront vendors. As a result, according to Noticias of Sunday July 19, at least four people were injured, among them a pregnant woman. The scuffle took place around 3:40, when the Guelaguetza convite – invitation to Guelaguetza events – was scheduled to arrive in the center, and use that area for a dance preview. As usual, events began late, with the popular convite (band of dancers) first, scheduled for 4:00. Consequently, many people were waiting for something to happen, and were treated to the free dance-line of Oaxaca riot police in helmets, carrying shields and weapons.

D.R. 2009 Noticias
Two parallel events take place this weekend, the government official Guelaguetza and the popular Guelaguetza sponsored by the teachers union and the APPO.

The vendors, members of the Frente Amplia Lucha Popular (FALP), set up vending spots in the Alameda esplanade in front of the Cathedral of the city. The vendors maintain they are Oaxaqueños with complete right to sell their products. Since they refused to leave, the police took their merchandise.

One of the Triqui vendors ignored the police until they surrounded her and began to kick her merchandise. A man named Alejandro Ezequiel, who sells masks, defended the woman. The riot police accosted the young man in turn, and tried to shove him into a patrol car. At that point, FALP vendors organized to rescue him. In the scuffle which followed another woman was injured, she said by at least six policewomen, along with her companion who is pregnant, and who claims to have been kicked in the stomach by one of the policewomen.

Minutes later the Preventive Municipal Police arrived to reinforce security for observers nearby. Some of the watching tourists aided the vendors, others complained about the bad image Oaxaca was presenting to national and international visitors. The photograph shows the riot police not at the Alameda, but protecting tourist cafes on the west side of the zócalo.

Interestingly, this story was buried in the crime section, along with the latest group of narco-assassinations (p.13) in Chihuaha.

Guelaguetza events continue.

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