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(en) US, Seattle, U.N.A.M. Solidarity Action in Seattle

From DAMN <damn@tao.ca>
Date Sat, 11 Mar 2000 10:07:09 -0500


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Author: Brenna Wolf <bwolf@oz.net>
During the lunch hour today, the Seattle U.N.A.M.Solidarity Committee held a
rally and march demanding the release of the political prisoners from the
National Autonomous University of Mexico (U.N.A.M.).  The rally featured
open-mike bilingual hip-hop, drumming and speeches by a U.N.A.M economics
professor and a student strike leader. The rally then turned into a march
down the streets of downtown Seattle to the Mexican Consulate, where the
Committee attempted to deliver a list of demands and a petition with over
1000 signatures.  When the marchers arrived at the consulate, nine Seattle
police officers had blocked the entrance way with bikes and prevented
admission to the consulate.

Irina Arellan, a U.N.A.M student and strike leader stated that actions such
as today's rally and march "are effective because the Mexican Consulate
knows that someone else in the world knows what's going on in
Mexico."  The Mexican Consulate seemed concerned about the protesters, as
the office needed police protection in order to not receive the protesters
demands.  The Mexican Consulate was not available for
comment.

Addressing issues of privatization, the IMF/World Bank, human rights and
education, the solidarity action demonstrated the large scope of the UNAM
student situation. In April 1999, more than 200,000 students went on strike
at UNAM, protesting unjust and unconstitutional tuition increases.  The
strike, shutting down the largest university in the western hemisphere, has
received scant media coverage in the United States.

During the second week of February, in two separate raids, the Federal
Preventative Police Force (Mexican militarized police) raided the campus,
arresting and detaining a total of 998 students.  As of March 6th, 251
students remain in jail.  Many of these students are being held on charges
of terrorism.

Ryan Judge, a University of Washington student and organizer with the
Committee Against Repression and For Democracy in Mexico, discussed the
level of media spin on the Mexican student strike and with coverage of most
events occurring presently in Mexico.  He stated that "in the last 2 years,
that several hundred Americans have been expelled for human rights work is a
strong demonstration about the level of concern the Mexican government has
as far as portraying its nation as democratic and free of repression and
corruption."



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