Police in the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca have used tear gas to disperse protesters attempting to take control of a stadium.

The demonstrators threw rocks at police Monday and set fire to vehicles as they tried to enter the stadium where the renowned Guelaguetza festival is scheduled to start on July 23. Dozens of people were injured.

The leftist demonstrators said they wanted to hold their own event as an alternative to the official festival.

The city was paralyzed for much of 2006 by political upheaval which prevented the Guelaguetza festival from being held.

Demonstrators took over parts of the city to demand the resignation of the governor of Oaxaca state, Ulises Ruiz.

Mexican federal police regained control of the town in October and ended the protests.

The crisis began in May of last year when teachers walked off the job demanding better pay and school funding. The demonstrations became violent when protesters critical of Governor Ruiz joined the cause.

At least nine people were killed in the violence, including a U.S. journalist.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.