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Protesters say Mexican government promises not to send troops to troubled southern city

Protesters say Mexican government promises not to send troops to troubled southern city

The government has promised not to send soldiers to dislodge thousands of protesters camped out in the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca, a move many feared could set off a bloodbath, protest leaders said Thursday.
Enrique Rueda, head of the Oaxaca teachers union, said Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal made the promise in a closed-door meeting.
"We have the guarantee from the interior secretary that there will be no military incursion in Oaxaca," Rueda told a news conference.
Interior Department officials said they would release a statement on the issue later Thursday.
Thousands of trade unionists and leftists have been camped out in Oaxaca since May, building barricades, taking over buildings and burning buses. The protesters are demanding the resignation of Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz, accusing him of rigging the 2004 election to win office and sending armed thugs against dissenters.
Ruiz denies the charges and has called for federal troops to restore order.
"The rule of law is not up for negotiation. Those who break the law should face the law," Ruiz said Wednesday in Mexico City after meeting with government officials.
In recent days, helicopters and military planes have flown over the protesters while thousands of state police have gathered outside the city. Protesters broadcast alerts from occupied radio stations, fearing an onslaught was imminent.
Clashes involving protesters, police and armed gangs have already left two people dead, and both the U.S. and British embassies in Mexico have issued advisories warning their citizens about going to Oaxaca.
The unrest has scared most tourists away from the city, which is normally popular for its colonial architecture and ancient pyramids. Business leaders put losses at more than US$300 million (euro235 million).
Ruiz has been supported by other governors from his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which held the Mexican presidency from 1929 until 2000. PRI officials say if Ruiz falls it would set a bad precedent that demonstrations can undermine democratically elected officials.


Updated : 2020-12-04 20:02 GMT+08:00