Oaxaca.- In light of the visit of the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, on the 15th of February to the State of Oaxaca, a large demonstration organized by Section 22 of the Education Workers National Union (SNTE) in the main square of the capital erupted in clashes between protesters and security forces leaving teachers, social activists, journalists and various policemen injured. Marcelino Coache, union leader and former spokesman for the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), was also seriously wounded.

As a result, the Committee for the Integral Defense of Human Rights “Gobixha” (Codigo-DH) has denounced the repression of the protest and the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by the authorities involved.

PBI would like to express its concern for the violent events which unfolded, and for the well-being of the people who were hurt during the confrontation, and in particular that of Marcelino Coache (Please see Codigo-DH press release, - Spanish).

Mr. Coache is one of many emblematic cases of human rights violations in Oaxaca. The union leader was illegally detained and tortured in March 2009 and he and his family have since been granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. The judicial defense of Marcelino Coache's case is being carried out by Alba Cruz, lawyer for Codigo-DH, whom PBI has accompanied since the organization was founded in January 2011.

Both Marcelino and his family continue to be victims of assault, harassment and intimidation; proof of which is demonstrated by the recent threats received by the unionist's son last January 31st (Please see Amnesty International Urgent Action).