From Oscar León of The Real News Network, two reports on protests, one that ended with a win and the other ending with massive police repression.
Mexico City Police Violently Crackdown on Occupying Teachers
From the transcript:
OSCAR LEÓN, TRNN PRODUCER: On Friday, September 13, a force of an estimated 3,000 anti riot police cleared El Zócalo Plaza in downtown Mexico City.
CROWD: Solutions, solutions. We don’t want repression.
A public place that tens of thousands of teachers had occupied for five months now, opposing an “Educative Reform” allowed, and among other things it would impose nationally standardized evaluations of teachers that would lead to their automatic firing if they receive negative ratings.
Once in control of the plaza, following a script that has become familiar to many cities in the world, the riot police tore the occupation camp down and arrested those who dare resist the government and its policies, even if they are teachers.
Since assuming power, Enrique Peña Nieto had faced opposition from many different sectors, which he has met with a heavy hand, criminalizing unions and student groups, all of which have faced police brutality and arbitrary detentions. Amnesty International reported the detention and violation of human rights of a number of independent journalists. AI called the Mexican government to respect the freedom of the press.
Some of the detainees are charged with “disrupting public peace” and even “attacks to the nation”. Beatings and inhumane treatment were reported by detained teachers and journalists.
In Xalapa, Veracruz, near the Caribbean coast, Sin Embargo, an independent newspaper, reported that police armed with electric knives evicted 300 teachers who had occupied Plaza Lerdo. There was an unreported number of injured and detained.
But further south, another nationwide protest ended in a victory:
National Farmers and Social Strike gets seeds control law 970 suspended
And excerpt from the transcript:
OSCAR LEÓN, TRNN PRODUCER: In Colombia after 21 days of a nationwide strike by thousands of farmers, who were supported by bus and truck drivers, miners, students, and others joining massive demonstrations in cities and towns all around the country in places as far as Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Cauca, Huila, Putumayo, Caldas, Cundinamarca, and Nariño, and blocking more than 40 roads, in an historic moment, protesting farmers forced the Colombian government to negotiate the rejection of a farm bill and the release of detained protesters.
On Sunday, September 8, Vice President Angelino Garzón met with the Strike Negotiating Commission in Popayan and agreed to suspend Law 970, the one that gave control over seeds to the government. They also were promised the release of the 648 arrested during the strike and the creation of a new mining law.
Under this first and provisional agreement, the government will compensate the farmers for their losses when competing with cheaper products imported under as much as ten free market treaties with countries all around the world. In other cases it will suspend the importation of such products.
The strike was ended and negotiations started to discuss the farmers’ proposals. The process of negotiation, as well as the final agreement and its implementation, will be verified by the United Nations.
In Putumayo in the south of the country, farmers leaders and other actors of Colombian society met with President Santos and other authorities and officially started the negotiations after signing the initial document.
The destruction of the farmers’ rice stock seeds, seeds they were keeping for the following year’s planting time, occurred in Campo Alegre and other towns in 2012. For some these images became the symbol of the farmers’ strike fighting for the right to keep their seeds. Seed control was described by President Santos as having Colombia “tune up to international reality”.