Military Overflights Heighten Tensions in Oaxaca

September 30th – The presence of military helicopters and a small airplane in Oaxaca City airspace fuels rumors of a coming crackdown against the popular movement calling for the ouster of the despised governor.

Just before 5pm local time on September 30th, two Marine helicopters flew low over the barricades of downtown Oaxaca City. At approximately 6:35pm, a reconnaissance plane circled multiple times over the southern Mexican city that has been held by protesters calling for the governor’s resignation for more than 130 days. The military overflights come after Mexico’s Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal declared that “everything has a limit”. The popular movement demanding the ouster of Oaxaca’s governor Ulises Ruiz affirmed that it will continue in a state of maximum alert and called for reinforcement of the barricades of self-defense.

During an act in the central square, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca announced coming activities of resistance and solidarity, including mobilizations to Mexico City, the possible formation of a national popular assembly, an international forum or solidarity and a second national gathering of students. Meanwhile, the Walking March for the Dignity of the People of Oaxaca continues sewing rebellions in the lands of Puebla state and hopes to arrive in Mexico City by October 8th.

source: indyOax


AUDIO – Oaxaca City – Sept 30th

All audio in Spanish:


  1. Update on Oaxaca
    by Iris

    October 1st – I am a student from Portland, Oregon and have taken time off for some travelling. Currently I am in Oaxaca City and will be based here for a time.

    First I would like to let everyone know that the expected military attack has not yet occurred. There is still time to stop this attack.

    Second I want to confirm the presence of military aircraft. Yesterday, Saturday September 30th two government helicopters and one large military airplane circled low above the city. I was in the market adjacent to the zócalo when I heard two helicopters overhead. At first I thought that perhaps the government invasion had begun. I quickly left the market to asses the situation. Overhead were two large helicopters. I do not know enough about aircraft to identify the kind but I find it hard to believe that the helicopters and plane which I saw could be state owned, the aircraft seemed very advanced. The helicopters circled very low. As I was walking to meet a friend at 6:30pm I noticed a military airplane circling the city, again at a low altitude. The people here that I have spoken with believe that this military presence is a form of intimidation as well as a means of surveying the area. Again this morning (Sunday, October 1st) I saw another military helicopter circling the city. However, this time the aircraft was at a much higher elevation.

    I cannot emphasize enough the oppressive feeling these flyovers have left on the city.

    I will do my best to keep the readers on Portland Indymedia updated on the situation. Thank you for reading.


  2. An email from Oaxaca, September 30th

    Hey folks,

    Don’t know how much ya’ll have been following the events in Oaxaca, Mexico – but it looks like things are about to go from tense to worse.

    There have been rumors swirling for the past few days about a coming police crackdown on the popular uprising in Oaxaca City.

    Last night, I caught wind of a federal police operation for this weekend from 2 separate sources. Mexico’s El Universal newspaper has reported that an operation dubbed Ciclon 5 (involving some 3,000 militarized federal police) has been prepared – something the Fox administration denies.

    Ok, so WHY am I writing now?

    Out of the blue, two very large, grey helicopters began circling low over the city center just before 5pm CT today. Helicopters are something you NEVER see here. They were definitely NOT civilian helicopters. They circled the area where all the major barricades for about 30 mins than left.

    At around 6:30pm CT, an airplane with what appeared to be a camera attached to the nose cone began to circle over the central area of Oaxaca City. I counted 4 overhead passes and did not see it headed in the direction of the airport.

    My guess is that it was assessing the barricades because it seemed to circle from the area of the barricade guarding the antenna of the APPO-occupied 710AM to beyond the opposite side of downtown.

    Estimates put the number of barricades in the city at upwards of 500. That’s a very realistic number and possibly even a conservative estimate. If any kind of public force tries to take over the city center, they will need to use helicopters because of all of the barricades.

    Many of the downtown barricades have been reinforced with sandbags since Thursday evening, when the crackdown rumors really got to swirling. So, many of the barricades actually look more like trenches, with chest-high sandbags and barbed wire, etc.

    BACKGROUND: The central square, the “zocalo” has been occupied by a protest encampment since public school teachers went on strike on May 22nd. The crackdown and attempted removal of the striking teachers on June 14th is what sparked the rebellion that has since led to the blockading of every major government building in Oaxaca City and the takeover of more of the municipal halls of at least 20 cities and towns statewide.

    The movement calling for the removal of the governor has been pretty much ignored by the Senate, which is the body Constitutionally charged with handling matters of impeachment of governors. Did I mention the governor of Oaxaca used to be a Senator?

    Anyway folks, pardon me if this is not germane to the conversation, but I think this needs some urgent attention.

  3. More military flights over Oaxaca City
    By Dan Feder,
    Posted on Sun Oct 1st, 2006 at 03:34:47 PM EST
    The Mexican news agency Notimex reports:

    OAXACA: A Mexican Navy helicpter again flew over both the outskirts and center of the state capital, provoking uneasiness among the members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO in its Spanish initials) and teachers who have occupied parts of the city since May.

    Just after 10:30 a.m., an aircraft could be heard in the cloudy Oaxacan sky that was later confirmed to be one of the two that flew by the night before, but on this occasion its flight was slower and higher in altitude.People who have participated in the barricades and on the APPO’s Security and Vigilance Committee launched rockets, just as they had the night before, but did not manage even to slow the aircraft.

    Just after noon, a Mexican Navy airplane also passed over the city. The radio station 710 AM, “The Law of the People,” occupied by the APPO since August 21, broadcast messages requesting that people not make rash decision: “Let us not fall into making decisions out of desperation; let remain calm.”


  4. Preparations for War in Oaxaca
    Military Aircraft Doing Reconnaissance Flights Over APPO Encampments

    By Diego Enrique Osorno and Óscar Rodríguez

    October 1, 2006

    The Mexican Navy carried out a reconnaissance operation over the buildings and public spaces occupied by the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO in its Spanish initials).

    Two MI-17 helicopters and one CASA C212 Navy airplane with registration number AMP-118 flew over the streets of the city – where opponents of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz have maintained several encampments over the past 130 days – for about 40 minutes.

    The zocalo, or central city square, the Oro and La Ley radio stations, the state government building, the Brenamiel and El Rosario radio antennas, as well as the Department of Finance building – all places where the rebels have installed protest camps – were reconnoitered by low-level flights of military aircraft.

    As they passed over the Radio Oro facilities, the two helicopters were fruitlessly “attacked” with rockets and fireworks that teachers of the National Education Workers’ Union local Section 22 launched from Conzatti Garden. The airplane then made four more passes over the areas around the zocalo and returned to the airport, where five other military aircraft were stationed.


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