Thursday, March 18, 2010

Federal Police Attack Five More Electricians' Blockades, One Electrician Shot

The Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) reports that this morning federal police violently attacked five blockades outside Luz y Fuerza del Centro (LyFC) buildings in Mexico State in what appear to be coordinated actions.  The attacks left multiple electricians wounded and detained.  One electrician is the in hospital with a gunshot wound.

The blockades outside former LyFC buildings are part of the SME's national strike, which it declared on March 16, the day its collective bargaining contract expired.  In October, President Felipe Calderon unilaterally fired 44,000 LyFC workers at gunpoint and shut down the state-owned electric company.

This morning's attacks began in Ecatepec county.  The SME reports that 100 federal police arrived at the blockade outside the substation there and, without a word, attacked the striking workers.  SME member Alejandro Lopez Perez was "gravely wounded" in the attack and remains hospitalized.  As in Juandho, Hidalgo, the federal police are using the LyFC complex to detain and torture workers.  During the attack, police took SME member Luis Valdés and LyFC retiree Raúl Villaseñor inside the LyFC building.  The SME reports that the two men have been "severely beaten" and remain detained.

Likewise, federal police attacked the blockade outside the electrical substation in Toluca.  Police detained five SME members and supporters, including the daughter of a former LyFC worker.  Ten people were seriously injured, including Juan Ceballos Flores, who was hospitalized with a bullet wound.

This morning police also attacked blockades in Vertiz, Indios Verdes, and another LyFC building in Ecatepec.

Today, SME Secretary General Martin Esparza announced that the federal Secretary of the Interior, Fernando Gómez Mont, has agreed to sit down with SME leadership tomorrow for new negotiations.  The SME does not hold out much hope for successful negotiations, but say it will bargain in good faith.  Pending the negotiations, Esparza has requested that members maintain their protest encampments outside their former workplaces, but that they unblock the entrances so that police and contractors and freely enter and leave.
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