Chest Thumping In Oaxaca (An Exclusive Dispatch From Mark in Mexico):
The Myrmidon's advance
The big battle took place at the northwestern entrance to the city at the Tech University. If you've ever visited the Zapotec ruins at Monte Alban, you've passed very close to this area. I'll write a description of that one later. In any event, as the PFP forces moved forward down the road towards a waiting throng of 2500 to 4000 APPistas, they thumped their batons on their shields rhythmically as they marched forward. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Right out of "Troy".
They did the same thing when they entered the Z√≥calo, but here there was no battle. What happened in the Z√≥calo yesterday at 7:00 pm was interesting, indeed.
When the federal forces arrived at the Z√≥calo, they paused for about 15 minutes and faced off, sometimes chest-to-shield, with the few remaining APPistas. They stood there thumping their batons on their shields. Flavio Sosa, APPO's leader who has been making almost daily flights back and forth to Mexico City to negotiate with the Secretary of Interior, made a grand entrance and mounted the bandstand.
He ostentatiously made a call on his cell phone. Word was passed around that he was "negotiating with Secretary of the Interior Carlos Abascal for the withdrawal of the PFP." After just a couple of minutes, Flavio Sosa abruptly stuck the phone in his pocket and "ran out of the Z√≥calo".
I imagine the conversation went something like this:
Sosa, brandishing cell phone for all to see: "Haloo?. This is Flavio Sosa in Oaxaca."
Abascal, listening to batons thumping on shields: "Flavio who?"
Rogelio Vargas, a spokesman for APPO in Mexico City (6 hours away by fast car) told a radio interviewer that the people of Oaxaca met the federal forces "in the streets with white flowers and handed them letters asking them to please stop their violation of the city (by the authorities) so as to avoid violence." Oh, you mean like this?
Or perhaps this is what he meant. These guys must be sending their letters by air mail.
I don't see any petunias in this photo, either:
After everyone stopped laughing, Vargas also declared that APPO had not ceded control of the city to federal forces, but that APPO and the government were enjoying an "undeclared truce". Nothing like a little comedy with one's breakfast, no?
APPO has withdrawn to Juarez University. The university is their last stronghold. This is interesting in that, while they have had control of the university's radio station since June, the university has not been been a focal point for them. Their student supporters, or, as the Mexican press has begun to call them, "pseudo-students", did burn two buses inside the university some months ago. But, to my knowledge, Flavio Sosa and his band of merry men have not used the university as a staging ground nor as a center of operations, at least until yesterday.
They are still there and have announced that there will be 3 marches today. All 3 will leave from different points around the city and terminate in the Z√≥calo as APPO "retakes the Z√≥calo". Or so they claim. We'll see.
[Previous coverage here]
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