Friday, November 03, 2006

Oaxaca Update: War Escalates and Brad Will's Killers

All photos shown in this article are taken from La Jornada

As the tear gas clears from the failed attempt of the Mexican Federal Preventative Police (PFP in its Spanish initials) to enter University City in Oaxaca (according to the protesters) or simply take down the surrounding barricades (according to the PFP spokespeople), Radio Universidad reports that many more federal police vehicles have been seen coming from the area around Puebla towards the city of Oaxaca. "While we won the battle" la doctora says on Radio Universidad "there are many more to come. Now is the time to organize even better."

Confrontations around Ciudad Universitaria
Nancy Davies with Narco News says that the PFP has begun to invade the Autonomous Benito Juarez University of Oaxaca (a violation of Mexican law). La Jornada confirms that confrontations in the area around the University City neighborhood have injured at least three people, including a photographer from El Universal and a reporter from Radio Libre. The University rector is demanding that the PFP (Federal Preventative Police) withdraw from the area of the University.

KeHuelga Radio
in Mexico City is carrying Radio Universidad online. Listen for Spanish language updates from the South of Monster City (Ciudad Monstruo) according to Enemigo Comun. They are asking for students to come defend University Radio and their university and to bring (large bottle) rockets and empty bottles and reporting that gas bombs are being dropped by PFP helicopters.

At 2:38 PM EDST are reporting that state and federal police are attacking barricades again around University City with the help of PFP helicopters. There is also a burning bus put up in defense of the University. They are also asking for Oaxacans who aren't near University City to go to the Zocalo to divide the police.

At 2:40 they announced a police retreat, but at 2:45 they said that they police trucks were returning and that there is a person suffering from a serious head trauma that urgently needs the help of a Red Cross Ambulance. At 2:54 they repeated this call, and reported that paramilitaries were trying to plant weapons on the university campus.

They also reported that two of the PFP trucks had been taken out of service, and they called Oaxacans to bring paint thinner to the lines (which can be used to ruin the electrical system of the trucks) and oil, filthy water, or paint to cover their windsheilds. Oaxacans are also urged to throw these liquids from the roofs onto federal forces.

Police are reported to have been seen in the University City area wearing shirts with the logo of Chedraui, a large chain of Mexican supermarkets.

At 3:10 Baltimore time, Radio Universidad is asking doctors and other health professionals with the public hospitals of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) to call in and let everyone know if they are safe places for protesters to receive specialized treatment like surgery. According to the announcers, as late as yesterday the hospitals were safe and were trusted, but there is now reason for concern.

Mexican version of CNN is reportedly saying the the PFP are not entering in University City. At 3:18 EDST the police helicopters are throwing tear gas grenades at homes indiscriminately. A reporter for channel 40 spoke over the radio to say that she has not been kidnapped by Radio Universidad as some had thought. An El Universal reporter spoke to the announcers to say he has been giving the real information about what is happening, so that the Oaxacan people know he is working honestly.

A PFP truck is said to be burning near the "Cinco señores" gas station, as the Radio Universidad Announcers asked listeners to detain a specific patrol car (whose number was announced) because it contains people who had been taken prisoner off of the street.

At the Avenida Ferrocarril police are said to be withdrawing at 3:27 EDST. At "5 Señores" police are also said to be withdrawing as one of their trucks burn and as the helicopters throw tear gas "indiscriminately."

A protest in Mexico City is marching down reforma to the PFP headquarters, threatening to blockade the buildings surroundings until the university in Oaxaca is no longer under attack.

A local child is said to be having serious respiratory problems near University Radio, though an ambulance cannot be found.

La Jornada is following today's events in Oaxaca closely. The PFP is telling the media that it will not enter the university campus, though the Radio Universidad is announcing that some already entered, cutting the chains on a gate in the are of the School of Sciences.

The Minister of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación) has made an order for the PFP to withdraw, according to Radio Universidad. The Radio is telling protesters, who have the police surrounded, to open one lane for police to withdraw, to see if the order is for real or a bluff. Though another announcer is threatening to hold the police hostage until the political prisoners are freed.

Police are withdrawing from Cinco Señores though helicopters continue to drop tear gas at 3:48 EDST.

An APPO spokesperson is asking Oaxacans to allow PFP forces to withdraw from the city toward the airport, as per an announcement of a withdrawel by the Minister of Interior. Radio Universidad announcers ask repeatedly "what about our prisoners?"

As the protesters at the barricade of Cinco Señores celebrate on air, the announcers put "Venceremos" on air and ask people to stay firm and remember that "this was just a battle, we still can't sing our victory songs until Ulises Ruiz leaves Oaxaca."

Students from the front lines have been recounting the almost four hours of "resistance" that ended with a retreat by the Mexican (PFP) on Radio Universidad. Others are on the air to tell the names and the stories of the injured or those in police custody.

Juan Trujillo also has been reporting from Meixco City by way of Radio KeHuelga.

Greg Berger has a good discussion of the aftermath of the battle at the Ciudad Universitaria in the City of Oaxaca.

The recap of the day by the Jornada confirms the police retreat and also has several interesting details that I missed, including injuries to journalists of Proceso , El Universal and Radio W by projectiles that the protesters threw. There were also "least 15 buses in flames" as barricades in front of the University.

Brad Will's Killers

Amy Goodman reports on Democracy Now (as a result of research by El Milenio and Noticias de Oaxaca) the killers of New York journalist Bradley Will were not in custody as the Santa Lucia city coucil president, Manuel Feria of the PRI party (same party as the governor), had announced. John Gibler, who has also written for Left Turn, reports that the killers were still only blocks from the murder scene as late as yesterday.

La Jornada says that two of the five men filmed committing the murder Abel Santiago Zárate, a local politician ("regidor") with the PRI party, and Orlando Manuel Aguilar Coello, Zarate's chief of security and also with the PRI, have been arrested and charged today. Presumably the El Milenio report pressured the Oaxacan PRI government to arrest the murderers. However, John Gibler says today that there has been no proof offered to journalists that the men are actually in custody, and he hopes to find evidence today of their whereabouts.

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