Paramilitaries and police in Oaxaca have begun a violent campaign to shut down all media operations that are in opposition to PRI governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and to silence the people’s movement, APPO, which has taken over governing the state. The television station that several hundred women had taken over on August 1st was invaded by police forces on August 21st and damaged beyond use. Radio station towers have also been attacked. Protesters have been shot in the streets by police or military forces who refuse to identify themselves. People in Oaxaca are calling for international solidarity: “Organize a protest at your local Mexican consulate or contact the… responsible individuals and let them know the whole world is watching.”
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The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO, by its Spanish initials) declared itself the governing body of Oaxaca on the morning of July 5th. Its immediate decisions included: a return to classes for two weeks on Monday July 10th, so that the schoolchildren would not lose their school year; putting the encampment in the zocalo into the hands of the alternative government; strengthening the fight to oust Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO) as governor; and boycotting the tourist Guelaguetza celebration in favor of a free celebration for the people. (NarcoNews report) However, divisions emerged between the teachers’ union and the social organizations in the APPO.
On July 22nd, Radio Universidad was attacked while the majority of people in Oaxaca were at the “People’s Gualaguetza” in the Zocalo. The radio station is used as a collection area for food and supplies, for the protesting teachers for the Gualaguetza people who had come in from the countryside. At that time, there were mostly older women and children in the building. They resisted the attack and called for supporters to come defend the station. The announcers continued to call for the removal of Governor Ruiz and the entire state government, for his attempts to kill the protesters. (NarcoNews report)
On August 1st, a large group of Oaxacan women marched through the city center and took over the state TV station (Channel 9) for APPO. They began broadcasting radio and television within hours, and demanded that URO resign. (Narco News report) The next morning they broadcast footage from the June 14th police attack that no TV station had ever dared to show. Read more
The transmitter for Radio Planton, the voice for the (teachers’) movement in the center of Oaxaca city, had been destroyed during the unsuccessful eviction attempt on June 14. The transmitter for Radio Universidad, another media of the movement and under control of the students, was ruined by infiltrators in the beginning of August. Report
On August 7th, Indian Organizations for Human Rights in Oaxaca (part of APPO) called for a Red Alert. They were seeking help to reinforce the blockades of local, state, and federal government buildings, and Channel 9, amidst the threat of intense police activity in the state’s capitol. That week the complicity between right-wing extremists of the national and state governments was confirmed by President Fox’s immediate grant of a request, petitioned by (ex)governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, to send in the Federal Prevention Police (PFP) – a nefarious militarized police.
Drive-by shootings at Radio Universidad and Channel 9 escalated, and on August 10th, several marchers were hit by shots fired from a house along the route. One supporter of the teachers was killed, and two others were wounded. APPO captured several suspects and turned them over to federal law enforcement(?). Weekly News Update report | Narco News report from August 10th
During the week of August 14th, approximately 4 APPO members were fatally shot, and tear gas and truncheons were used by police to injure and try to break up the demonstrators. Arrest warrants were issued for over 50 grassroots activists. Democracy Now report and interviews from August 18th A news summary by esperanza reports that the uprising in Oaxaca is now connecting with the protests against election fraud in all of Mexico. Narco News reports that since a national forum to discuss ungovernability and a new constitution was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Oaxaca, a total work stoppage was scheduled for Friday, August 18th, to allow guests to leave before the roads and highways were blocked. More than 200 civil organizations and academics from different parts of the nation were invited to participate. Some 80,000 people participated in the work stoppage. Report and Analysis from Narco News reporter Nancy Davies.
Early Monday morning on August 21st, the encampment at the Channel 9 antenna was attacked and the damage made it unusable. Moments later, APPO sympathizers took over installations of the majority of the city’s radio commercial frequencies, where they urged the population of Oaxaca to take to the streets to defend encampments located throughout the city. People protesting outside one of the commercial radio stations were subjected to a drive-by at 9am by unidentified individuals. The popular movement continues to demand the resignation of URO.
Another teacher is dead after armed police traveled about Oaxaca city on Tuesday night August 22nd, shooting at protesters at will. As the people of Oaxaca were alerted via radio to the aggressions occurring in the city, hundreds of people filled the streets to offer back-up and to try to detain the aggressors. The 500 barricades that protect the teachers’ encampments around the city were reinforced. People in Oaxaca are calling for international solidarity: “Organize a protest at your local Mexican consulate or contact the… responsible individuals and let them know the whole world is watching.”
Jlaw’s August 23rd report and photos with links to video
A post on Austin Indymedia reports that “unknown persons have published on the website http://oaxacaenpaz.org.mx/ pictures and home addresses of a number of social leaders exhorting readers to ‘look for them and detain them.’ The website also has a running tally of social movement leaders already detained, stating ‘they’ve already fallen.’ Also, the recently killed protestor, by presumably government agents, José Jiménez Colmenares, has a grotesque red X across his face.”