What began as an article about the murders of Oaxacan protesters and a New York journalist changed as La Jornada is reporting that the invasion of Oaxaca by Mexican Federal Preventative Police (PFP) is happening RIGHT NOW.  According to Radio Universidad, (reporting live over the internet) PFP have advanced to the Oaxaca City center and PFP elements wearing balaclavas over their faces are invading private houses and arresting protest leaders.

At 3:53 Oaxaca time, La Jornada reported that PFP elements have reached the Historic Center of Oaxaca City, while all day Oaxacans have been reporting confrontations with police and “gangs loyal to (Vicente Fox).”  At 4:10, Radio Universidad was asking for people in Central Oaxaca to report whether the town center was occupied by Federal Police.  They were also asking people at the barricades not to fall into violent provocations, and to move any non-strategic barricades to move around Radio Universidad to “defend the voice of the people.”

They also said that, anyone who is willing to risk it, could put sugar in the gas tank of the PFP tanks taking down the barricades.

A time line for the events in Oaxaca are available on Oaxaca Indymedia.

RESPONSES

As the PFP marched on the Oaxaca town center, a march was organizing in University City to reinforce the defenses of Radio Universidad and march toward the town center to defend it.  At 4:55 police were heard attacking the march, causing a panicked cry to ring out on live on Radio Universidad, where announcers asked people not to physically touch the PFP to avoid violent physical confrontations.

Protesters have organized a demonstration at the Mexican Embassy (1911 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,Washington, DC) on Monday, October 30, 5:00 PM.  In New York City protests are being held continualy at the Mexican Consulate.

Oaxacans are calling people who can make it to come to Oaxaca, a march is organized in Mexico City, and people around the world are called to protest in front of Mexican Embassies and Consulates at 6:00 PM on Monday, October 30.  Zapatistas have also issued a call urging solidarity with the movement in Oaxaca.

BEFORE THE PFP INVASION

Friday October 27th was the bloodiest day in the ongoing uprising in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Nancy Davies writes for NarcoNews

The dead have now been identified as Emilio Alonso Fabián, Bradley Will and Eudocia Olivera Díaz. The fourth reported death, of Esteban Zurita López, is at the center of accusations by both sides of the conflict, with each blaming the other.

Brad Will was a filmmaker from New York Indymedia killed while his camera recorded by “police or paramilitaries according to locals.”  Diego Enrique Osorno, writing for Narco News, identifies Emilio Alonso Fabián as a teacher from the Los Loxicha region and Esteban López Zurita a resident of Santa Maria Coyotepec where one of the paramilitary attacks occurred.

Update: These murders occured as part of a massive coordinated attack by armed, often masked, individuals reportedly working for state political parties.  Calling themselves “neighbors” they “acted with impunity” attacking protesters with firearms. Mexican Press has identified as active participants in the murder of Brad Will, the cheif of police (Seguridad Publica) of Santa Lucia del Camino, Avel (sic) Santiago Zárate, the chief of personel of the PRI affiliated City Council, Manuel Aguilar, and a local elected Delegate of the PRI, David Aguilar Robles.

Mexican Press is also reporting that planes full of Federal Preventative Police (PFP) are being sent from Mexico City, supposedly to quell this violence.  However, the whole time that the violence against the protesters built up into “low-intensity warfare,” the federal government threatened to send forces, which locals interpreted as a way to repress the Oaxacan people as the PFP had done in Atecno (where the Federal Preventative Police killed two young people, beat many others, deported foreigners, raped female prisoners, and hold more than 30 political prisoners to this date).

The PFP had not come until now for several reasons.  One has to do with the fact that  Oaxacan Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz is from the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI) and President Vicente Fox is from the National Action Party (PAN).  Fox and the PAN were unwilling to dirty their hands on behalf of an opposing political party, especially before elections or while Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Party for Democratic Revolution (PRD) contested the  victory of PAN candidate Felipe Calderon.  The accusations that Calderon won the election fraudulently also explain why the federal government and the PAN will not pressure Ulises to step down.  If Ulises, whose election victory has been contested as fraudulent, is thrown out of power by a popular uprising, then a dangerous precedent has been set for all of Mexican society as far as the political parties are concerned.

Al Giordano of Narco News also points out that the mathematics of a police repression in Oaxaca are different than Atenco.  While the PFP sent about 3,000 agents into Atenco, a town of several hundred, the city of Oaxaca is inhabited by half of a million people, several thousand of which appear to be ready to fight at the barricades.  The only thing worse than not sending in federal forces would be sending the forces in only to see them get chased out.

ORIGINS OF THE CONFLICT

This all started as a routine labor strike by Section 22 of the Mexican teachers union (often referred to in Spanish language press as “el magisterio”) escalated into a state-wide revolt after state police tried to violently evict the encampment of striking teachers on June 14.

The teachers union and the newly formed Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca made the ouster of unpopular governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, widely considered to have won the election by fraud, their primary demand.  As violence by police, paramilitaries and mercenaries escalated, the protesters began barracading their neighborhoods in self-defense.  For example, after the Radio Universidad radio station used by the teachers union was attacked, protesters responded with a wave of radio station takeovers.  But the protesters also began organizing to put their demand into action, declaring Gov. Ulises “banned” from Oaxaca, seizing government buildings and chasing out politicians from the local and state governments.

Violent attacks had for months been escalating against protesters, in what protesters said was part of Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz’s repressive Operation Iron (“Plan Hierro”).  Brad Will himself documented this with an article a week ago called “Death in Oaxaca”.  With the murder of the indigenous teacher Panfilo Hernandez, the death toll was at 9 for the protesters.  Meanwhile, political parties and the commerical Mexican media were reporting that the protesters were killing people, often without saying the name of the supposed victim or the time and place of the supposed killing.  The killing of dissident teachers Jaime René Calvo Aragón, (who argued for the return to classes) was blamed by the government on protesters, while protesters blamed the government of killing the dissidents as a pretext to repress the protestors, as reported by La Jornada.

Reporting on this situation has been non-existent on BBC and CNN, though BBC ran a story on the killing of Brad Will, mis-identifying him as William Bradley. Now that the repression has arrived, the question remains how Oaxacans, Mexicans and people of the world will respond, with apathy or action.

_________________
Simon Fitzgerald just returned from Mexico where he reported on The Other Campaign for NarcoNews.  He also writes the blog La Luchita
blog La Luchita

Be Sociable, Share!