No peace in Mexicos embattled city as governor refuses to resign

Protesters in Oaxaca City clashed with the local police as the State Governor tried to deliver a speech to lawmakers.

As State Governot Ulises Ruiz refuses to step down, the situation in the embattled Mexican city of Oaxaca worsens after thousands of federal troops recaptured the city, which had been seized by protesters for five months. Mr. Ruiz does not want to even listen about resigning despite the national Senate urged him to quit, he is absolutely unpopular in the state he rules and even his own party's lawmakers want him gone.

Protesters accuse the governor of rigging the 2004 election by buying votes and intimidating opponents with gun-toting thugs who have been captured on videotape firing at protesters. On Wednesday, Ruiz sent a deputy to hand-deliver his annual progress report to lawmakers after protesters threatened to interrupt his address if he gave it in person.

As lawmakers received the report, which touted the state government's achievements in fighting poverty in Oaxaca, protesters marched in the city center and threw rocks at federal police, who responded with tear gas.

The city, once a nice resort for tourists looking for a peaceful colonial place to relax, has turned into a battlefield since teachers organized the first demonstration against the authorities. The crackdown on them sparked the reaction of students, workers and shoppers who lately seized power and fired the Governor, who never resigned.

Five months of permanent clashes left, at least, nine killed, most of them protesters shot by gunmen paid by the Governor. Federal troops reinstated Ruiz in power despite the national Senate urged Ruiz to step down. At that time, a popular assembly lead by teachers and leftist militants ruled the city.

However, conservative President, Vicente Fox has been reluctant to get involved, arguing that only voters can remove elected officials from office. "The president does not install or get rid of governors. That era has gone, and is gone forever," said spokesman Ruben Aguilar. In decades past, presidents often removed controversial governors; Carlos Salinas de Gortari got rid of 16 of Mexico's 31 governors during his 1988-94 term, some of whom faced protests far less severe than those in Oaxaca.

Hernan Etchaleco

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov