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URGENT: Police, Military and Paramilitaries Invade Oaxaca!!

Currently the people of Oaxaca organized in the Peoples Poplular Asembly of Oaxaca (APPO) are under attack by the Mexican federal government. More than 10 thousand military sweep the streets of Oaxaca. Headed by water tanks follows by lines of 3,500 riot cops with batons and behind them 3,000 military police with automatic rifles; 5,000 army troops await in the outskirts of the city while paramilitaries continue attacking. There are reports of military tanks a few meters from the pacific protests and urban trucks without logo of the Federal Bureau of Inviestigations of Mexico which remain in the International Airport of Mexico, now converted into military base. Since the morning there are reports of one death - but nothing confirmed.

The air space has been closed for the last two days to commercial and civil flights, only permitting the entry of federal and military agents. Since the morning the army has closed all roads in and out of Oaxaca.

See also:

Oaxaca: Minute By Minute (Indymedia)
Indymedia Oaxaca
NarcoNews

===========

Sunday, October 29th: The Federal Invasion of Oaxaca City

by Jake, BAAM! (trenchesfullofpoets@riseup.net)

Today, thousands of riot police from the Federal Preventative Police (PFP), armed with shields, batons, and automatic weapons, began the invasion of Oaxaca City, the capital of Oaxaca state, Mexico. The federal forces, under the cover of snipers in helicopters, are using light tanks, water cannons, and bulldozers to slowly remove the hundreds of barricades that have blocked the streets of Oaxaca City since the police were run out of town in June by protesters demanding the resignation of the state governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

According to APPO’s website, more than 30,000 Oaxaca residents and APPO members have been in the streets all day, peacefully resisting the invasion, keeping the federal forces surrounded as they march through the city to prevent violent police attacks. The protesters who have vowed to be non-violent, have been carrying white flags and roses, and bringing food to members of the PFP who have been under-nourished with some officers even fainting.

There are, however, countless reports of police brutality coming from the streets. The PFP are entering homes and arresting random citizens, as well as the leaders of the APPO. They are using teargas released from helicopters, water cannons, and water mixed with an unidentified chemical that burns the skin to try and break the people’s will. For most of the day, the people of Oaxaca resisted completely peacefully, lying down in the path of the PFP, and continually getting driven back by violence and brutality.

Then at 2:30, (Oaxaca time) at least 1000 people stood up to the advance of 300 PFP officers in 20 buses crawling towards the center zocalo, which protesters have occupied and used as a public meeting space since May. Protesters punctured tires of 2 of the vehicles and smashed the windows with rocks, forcing the outnumbered police to retreat.

Thousands of valiant members of the Popular Assemblies of the People of Oaxaca, an open, public and directly democratic decision-making body that has been in control of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico since June, have succeeded in preventing hundreds of PFP from seizing the center zocalo of Oaxaca’s capital, Oaxaca city. As of 4:55, Oaxaca time, according to El Universal, the police, who had invaded and occupied the zocalo with 4 stolen buses, have been driven 4 blocks out of the center. Protesters have popped the buses’ tires and are using them to blockade the zocalo.

According to an APPO update, at 5:00, the PFP using helicopters kidnapped a 36-year-old man, and many others including women and children, beating them widely in Love Park, which is 7 blocks from the center of the city. At 5:09 pm, Oaxaca time, the PFP shot a man at point blank. According to the APPO’s website, he was one of tens of thousands guarding the bridge to the Technological Institute, which is under police siege.

The people of Oaxaca are focusing their defenses on two strategic locations, the center zocalo and, more importantly, the only remaining APPO occupied radio station, Radio Universidad, both of which are under attack from the PFP.

Federal forces have had Oaxaca City, a strong-hold for the new movement of the Popular Assemblies, completely surrounded since Friday when right-wing paramilitaries in plainclothes attacked unarmed people at a couple of the barricades. The attacks killed 4— NYC Indymedia journalist Brad Will, and Oaxaca residents Emilio Alonso Fabián, Eudocia Olivera Díaz, and Esteban Zurita López—and injured 11. The paramilitaries have been identified as members of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz’s PRI party: two members of Santa Lucia's city council, two of that town's police officers and a former justice of the peace from another town.

Vicente Fox, outgoing Mexican President who has long vowed to “restore order” to Oaxaca before he steps down on December 1st, used the PRI’s cowardly violence as an excuse to invade Oaxaca and repress the directly-democratic APPO. Even if he succeeds in this repression, however, he will only bolster the resolve of the movement for Popular Assemblies, which is looking to take decision-making power from the hands of politicians and bring it back to the people in the form of public, open, direct democracy (popular assemblies). Right now, a third of the Mexican states have built their own popular assemblies, many of which have mobilized today in support of the people’s struggle in Oaxaca.

For constant updates, check:
APPO’s Spanish-language page:

==========

Mexican Federal Police Invade... but the APPO Still Controls The Heart Of Oaxaca

By Gregory Berger, narconews.com
Posted on Mon Oct 30th, 2006 at 01:23:03 AM EST

After a full days assault, the thousands of Mexican Federal Police that invaded Oaxaca City today have now occupied the town square and other key parts of the city. But there are many this morning that maintain that the fight is far from over.

At first glance, the Federal Government delivered a victory to the State Government of Oaxaca in its attempt to return control of the State Capital to Governor Ulises Ruiz. Armored tanks slammed through the APPO's barricades and brushed aside the women and children on the streets who had lined up to ask them not to enter their city. At least 50 people have been arrested, but the real number is feared to be much higher. Illegal search and seizures are occurring throughout the city, where Federal police and intelligence agents are hunting for the leadership of the Peoples' Popular Assembly of Oaxaca. (APPO) And, in outrageous coincidence evoking memories of Alexis Benhumea's murder in the town of San Salvador Atenco in May, at least one person is confirmed dead, a 15 year old boy slammed by a tear canister launched by the Federal Preventative Police (PFP).

But most observers on the ground told this correspondent last night that the fight is far from over; Radio Universidad, the voice of the APPO, is back on the air. Three marches are planned for today in the city of Oaxaca. The APPO remains present on every city block in every corner of the city. And despite the government's absurd claim that teachers will be back in classrooms today, members of section 22 of the teachers union made it clear that despite previous announcements, teachers will remain on strike. In fact, teachers from the democratic wing of the teachers’ movements in several states, including Guerrero, Michoacán, Tlaxcala, Morelos, Zacatecas, Oaxaca, Mexico City, and beyond, have vowed to walk out of classes as well. A mega march is planned in Mexico City to insist on the immediate withdrawal of the PFP.

"This is not a defeat." Insisted a host of Radio Universidad. "There are still more of us. They can't win unless they are prepared to put thousands upon thousands of us in jail, or turn the schools into jails. Or perhaps even turn the stadiums into jails, like Pinochet did."

Radio Universidad is currently on air giving instructions to citizens on how to engage in continued resistance.

Prior to yesterday's invasion, many people claimed that a Federal incursion into Oaxaca would not only fail to squash the movement, but would in fact strengthen it. Today, there are many signs that their predictions may well come true. Allies of the APPO took control of the government radio station yesterday in Guelatao, the small town in the mountains two hours from Oaxaca where Benito Juarez was born. From the word on the street, one suspects that today we will learn of many such small victories.

=========

Chronicle of the Battle of Oaxaca: Stage Three, Day One

The Majority of People on the Street Waiting to Confront the Police were Common Citizens Ready to Put Their Lives on the Line

By James Daria
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Oaxaca

October 30, 2006

With the death of at least three people (including a foreign journalist) on Friday, Mexican president Vicente Fox must have found his excuse to bring in federal police to repress the civil unrest that has made the state of Oaxaca practically ungovernable and has spurred further unrest throughout the republic. By Saturday, elements of the Federal Preventive Police landed at the Oaxaca airport and word spread about their arrival by ground just north of the city. According to word on the street the federal forces were supposed to have entered the city under the cover of darkness Saturday night. Although the city was abandoned and no new barricades were erected, the arrival of the police did not happen. Sunday morning came and the city awoke to a buzz of activity as troop movement was detected at different points of the city and helicopters could be seen flying overhead. The battle of Oaxaca was about to begin and who would control the city at the end of the day would be decided at various strategic barricades.

The majority of the federal forces were stationed at the base of the PFP near the entrance to the highway to Mexico City just past the village of Etla. The police, dressed in full riot gear and equipped with various “tanks” (actually armored vehicles with water cannons and video cameras), stationed themselves just on the edge of this highway. What laid between them and the center of Oaxaca City were no less than five major barricades made up of buses and semi trailers and the fury of thousands of common Oaxacan citizens. There were also reports of troop movements in the south of the city.

Heading towards the front line in the morning, an amazing amount of citizens filled the highway between downtown Oaxaca and the federal police stationed to the north east of the city. The majority of people were local residents who left their homes to man the barricades located nearby. Others brought water or food to the protesters. Although everyone knew the violence of the state was encroaching, the level of generosity and mutual aid expressed by these people was tremendous. While the presence of teachers and others affiliated directly with the APPO was clearly evident, the majority of people on the street waiting to confront the police were common citizens who were ready to put their lives on the lines to prevent the federal forces from reaching the city.

Talking to a woman who was sitting at the monument to Benito Juarez on the road to Etla, she explained that the current social movement rocking the foundations of the state government’s authoritarianism and brutality is actually in its third and most important stage. The first stage, according to her, was the vanguard of the teachers union. Although the union has always fought for its own self-interest the union taught the people how to fight for their rights, especially after June 16. The second phase was the consolidation of various social organizations in the Popular Assembly of the Oaxaca People. These disparate groups followed the example of the union in terms of organization and combativeness. The third and current stage in which the movement finds itself is the radical democratization of the struggle with the massive participation of common, until now unorganized people. In light of the sell out of the leadership of the teachers union and the failure of the APPO to achieve certain objectives, the people have found the strength within themselves to take active participation and leadership in the greatly expanding movement. Evidence of the truth of her statements was the large number of women and children among the protestors. Many people throughout the day expressed their wish that the outside world realize that the majority of the protesters were common folk who were simply tired of poverty and repression and not armed thugs portrayed in the mass media.

Sitting underneath a giant statue of the Oaxacan Indian who became president of the nation and fought for independence and reform, she explained that Oaxaca has always been on the forefront of revolutionary change in Mexico. And the movement in Oaxaca is not isolated to this state. According to her, Oaxacans are setting an example for all Mexicans to rise up and fight against the authoritarianism of bad governments. Oaxaca is but the tip of the iceberg of the coming change at a national level.

Arriving at the front lines, the people had amassed in front of the PFP with signs demonstrating their rejection of the use of force to solve the Oaxacan conflict. Everyone insisted that the peaceful resolution of the conflict was possible with the ousting of the governor Ulises Ruiz and the implementation of radical reforms in this poor, southern state. “We want peace!…The uniformed are also exploited!...Oaxaca isn’t Atenco!…were some of the chants that vibrated throughout the phalanx of peaceful protestors. In a symbolic act representing the blood that has been shed in order to keep Ulises Ruiz in power, three people took blood from their arms and with it wrote slogans against the PFP. “If Abascal wants Oaxacan blood, have him come here to take mine! Enough blood has been shed!” cried one of the bleeding protestors.

Around three o’clock and shortly after the bloody demonstration the troops began to move forward. Women flung themselves against the shields of the riot squads and the armored cars trying to push them back. Other protesters laid on the ground trying to block their path. The protesters peacefully tried to stop the police from moving forward but the police pushed on using water cannons to stun and disorient the protestors. The PFP slowly moved forward advancing towards the capital as the protesters tried in vain to stop their progression. At this point the attitude of the protestors was complete non-violence. When one ski-masked youth threw rocks at the police, other demonstrators grabbed him and took off the mask telling him that rock throwing only provokes a confrontation leading to an excuse for violence on the part of the state.

Word spread that the PFP was entering the city from the south clearing away the barricades in that part of the city. Back up north, while the protestors headed to defend the next barricade down the highway, the police deviated from the highway and entered the dirt roads near the banks of the river Atoyac that lines the highway leading to downtown. In this way the majority of the major barricades were averted. Confrontation eventually happened in Viguera near the Oaxacan Technological Institute where the police launched large amounts of tear gas. Although awaiting confirmation, according to the security force of the APPO, a teenager was killed by the impact of a tear gas canister. Many others were supposedly detained.

While a march in support of the APPO was arriving in downtown, Oaxaca was slowing being occupied by the federal police. Trying not to provoke confrontations the police slowly made their way to the southern corners of the Zocalo and amassed there waiting for nightfall. The city of Oaxaca was covered in thick black smoke from burning busses and car tires.

With the cover of darkness, the PFP finally occupied the Zocalo and began to tear down the APPO’s encampment. The electricity was cut off in the University City and surrounding neighborhoods as the police tried to silence the voice of the people, Radio Universidad. The protesters reinforcing the barricades around the university quickly hooked up a generator and restored transmission although the surrounding neighborhoods remained in darkness. Reports broadcast on the radio and word of mouth from relatives and neighbors indicate that the PFP is searching houses supposedly looking for evidence of participation in the movement. Neighbors are burning anything they have that could be linked to the APPO in fear of government repression.

Entering the longest hours of the night there are reports of barricades being rebuilt along the highway to Mexico City once again blocking off traffic and impeding the further arrival of federal troops. Explosions are being heard in different parts of the city and three helicopters are circling overhead. It is assumed that Radio Universidad will be the next target.

Although the city of Oaxaca has been occupied by federal troops the problem is far from resolved. One protestor commented that the following day when the police have set up camp in the Zocalo, the people will then surround them and force them out. Although the physical perimeter has been broken the spirit of resistance and the rage of the people have not been extinguished. The use of force to quell the social unrest here in Oaxaca will not solve the underlying problems and until the problems are solved or enough people have died, the conflict will continue. Tomorrow will be yet another day fighting for control of the city of Oaxaca. It is thought that the next strategy of the federal forces will be to enter into the surrounding neighborhoods to clean out the barricades and restore order.

=========

A Call from the Zapatistas: Oaxaca Is Not Alone
Shut-Down of Roads, Highways and the Media on November 1; General Strike Called for November 20

Message from the
CLANDESTINE REVOLUTIONARY INDIGENOUS COMMITTEE-GENERAL COMMAND
of the
ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION
MEXICO.

October 30, 2006.

To the people of Mexico:
To the people of the world:
To the Other Campaign in Mexico and the other side of the Rio Grande:
To the entire Sixth International:

Compañeros and compañeras:
Brothers and sisters:

It is now known publicly that yesterday, 29th of October 2006, Vicente Fox’s federal forces attacked the people of Oaxaca and its most legitimate representative, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).

Today, the federal troops have assassinated at least 3 people, among them a minor, leaving dozens of wounded, including many women from Oaxaca. Dozens of detainees were illegally transported to military prisons. All this comes in addition to the existing total of deaths, detainees and missing persons since the beginning of the mobilization demanding that Ulises Ruiz step down as Oaxaca’s governor.

The sole objective of the federal attack is to maintain Ulises Ruiz in power and to destroy the popular grassroots organization of the people of Oaxaca.

Oaxaca’s people are resisting. Not one single honest person can remain quiet and unmoved while the entire society, of which the majority are indigenous, is murdered, beaten and jailed.

We, the Zapatistas, will not be silent; we will mobilize to support our brothers, sisters and comrades in Oaxaca.

The EZLN’s Sixth Commission has already consulted the Zapatista leadership and the following has been decided:

First: During whole day of November 1, 2006, the major and minor roads that cross Zapatistas territories in the southwestern state of Chiapas will be closed.

Consequently, we ask that everyone avoid traveling by these roads in Chiapas on this day and that one make the necessary arrangements in order to do so.

Second: through the Sixth Commission, the EZLN has begun making contact and consulting other political and social organizations, groups, collectives and individuals in the Other Campaign, in order to coordinate joint solidarity actions across Mexico, leading to a nationwide shut-down on the 20th of November, 2006.

Third: the EZLN calls out to the Other Campaign in Mexico and north of the Rio Grande, so that these November 1st mobilizations happen wherever possible, completely, partially, at intervals or symbolically shutting down the major artery roads, streets, toll booths, stations, airports and commercial media.

Fourth: The central message that the Zapatistas send and will continue sending is that the people of Oaxaca are not alone: They are not alone!

Ulises Ruiz out of Oaxaca!

Immediate withdrawal of the occupying federal forces from Oaxaca!

Immediate and unconditional freedom for all detainees!

Cancel all arrest warrants!

Punish the murderers!

Justice!
Freedom!
Democracy!

From the North of Mexico.
For the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
For the EZLN Sixth Commission.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, October, 2006.

Translation: Radio Pacheco

==========

Proposed Sample Letter to President Vincente Fox and Your Local Mexican Consulate

---> Full list of Mexican Consulates in the U.S. & Canada

Friday, October 27, 2006

ATT: Vicente Fox Quesada
Constitutional President of the United States of Mexico
Tel: (55) 59992800
Fax: (55) 52772376

RE: Repression of the People of Oaxaca

President Fox,

As someone concerned with the respect of human rights everywhere, I am writing to you to express my great concern over the violence being perpetrated by your government against the people of Oaxaca, including representatives of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) and Section 22 of the National Teacher’s Union. I urge you to call for an immediate cessation of all acts of repression against the Oaxacan people and to heed their long standing demand for the removal and political trial of Governor Ulises Ruiz.

It has come to my attention that despite the maintenance of peaceful opposition to the state’s governor for months now, the Oaxacan people have been subjected to forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, routine threats and armed attacks. In the last weeks, we have received news in Canada of the deployment of thousands of troops surrounding Oaxaca City by your government as well as the murders of several teachers and members of APPO. Furthermore, we have just received the distressing notice of the murder of U.S. filmmaker Will Bradley at the hands of paramilitaries with support of the state police.

I support the demands of the people of Oaxaca for the removal of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, who has been implicated in multiple human rights violations and murders since his assumption of power two years ago and their right to participate in a peaceful movement of resistance for the respect of their basic dignities as human beings. For this reason, I and many other Canadians will continue to pay close attention to the situation in Oaxaca and all acts of aggression that are carried out against its people.

Therefore, I urge you to ensure that all acts of violence against the Oaxacan people at the hands of the Mexican army, the federal and state police and paramilitary troops are halted and that the safety of all representatives of the APPO and Section 22 of the National Teachers’ Union and all Oaxacan people be guaranteed. I further urge you to respect truly democratic dialogue with the people of Oaxaca in regards to their political and social demands.

Sincerely,
NAME:__________________________________________________
ADDRESS:_______________________________________________
Cc: Consulte of all the places where you send the card.