4 dead in Oaxaca as the violent attacks continue

Reports say Brad Will was shot by plain clothes police or paramilitary, violent siege continues, Friday’s deathcount is reported to be rising.

October 27th, 2006 – With continuing violence in Oaxaca City, local people have apparently identified the person responsible for the fatal shooting of Brad Will in Oaxaca City, Mexico, today, after a television station showed video of the incident.

After the footage of the shooting was shown on Televisa, a large Mexican television network, Radio APPO in Oaxaca received four different reports from people who identified the shooter as a plain clothes police or possibly a paramilitary hired by the far right PRI party, and that his name is Pedro Camona, however, it is not confirmed that this is in fact the name of the shooter.

Three others were also shot and killed during the incident, one a schoolteacher named Emililio Alofonzo Fabian. Some reports say that Fridays death-count is rising through the night.

Throughout the day, radios run by the oaxacan protesters have been coming in and out listening range, reporting multiple incidents of violent aggression from federal police and paramilitary forces along the thousands of barricades constructed by the protesters in recent months. Several groups of protesters and teachers unions, along with Radio APPO have been surrounded and attacked by police and PRI party sympathizers. The radios continue to call for Oaxacan people to reinforce the barricades throughout the day, urging people to defend themselves with sticks. The protesters in Oaxaca have been using sticks and stones to fight off police and paramilitaries since the uprising began this summer. The APPO(the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, a fusion of protest groups) has consistently refuted mainstream Mexican press reports that paint the group as armed and violent.

Reports from Oaxaca also say that health and medical collectives have been aiding the rising number of injured people.

Before his murder today, Brad Will had been in Oaxaca taking video and reporting on the state wide popular uprising and teacher strike that began in June with the violent attempted removal of the striking teachers from their encampment in the center of Oaxaca City by federal police forces. Since then, the teachers and other groups formed the APPO, the Popular Assembly of the Oaxacan People, and have called for the removal of the governor of state Ulises Ruiz of the PRI. Will is believed to be the first journalist to be killed while reporting.

There is a long history of Mexico using government sponsored paramilitaries to repress social movements, including a massacre of hundreds of students in Mexico City in 1968.

As reports of protesters surrounded by armed government forces and police continue to pour in, activists in cities around the world are planning protests at Mexican embassies in outcry against the violent aggression against the people of Oaxaca.

By Barucha Calamity Peller


By calamity

Barucha Calamity Peller is a writer and photographer, high school dropout, and rabel rouser. For years she has worked within and reported on Mexican social movements. Her photographs and analysis have been widely distributed through alternative media outlets such as Counter Punch and the Independent Media Center. Peller reported from Lebanon during the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war just before entering Oaxaca. She is known for getting herself into very dangerous situations and then escaping with photographs that depict both old women and young anarcho-punks fighting for peace and justice in the streets. Peller asserts that Oaxaca could not have been reported from the safety of a hotel room, but only from the barricades themselves.