<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Police and Government Thugs Open Fire on APPO Members

Four Wounded Outside the Department of Citizen Protection in Oaxaca City


By Enrique Mendez and Octavio Velez
La Jornada

October 13, 2006

OAXACA, October 11: The social and political crisis in Oaxaca was renewed just at the moment that a solution was being sought. Late in the afternoon, police and hired civilian thugs (“porros”) fired on Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) members and university students; the result was four injured, two of them in the leg, and others grazed on the forehead and back. That night Section 22 decided to suspend talks of returning to classes until the Senate makes a decision on the removal of the governor and other authorities.

At 4:12pm this Wednesday, as a long day of occupying and clearing governmental offices was just finishing, the protesters were leaving the Department of Citizen Protection (run by Lino Celaya), police and a support group fired on demonstrators, who were boarding the three trucks that they use to tour the city.

Minutes before, members of the APPO “mobile brigade” had been painting slogans on the wall demanding Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz’ exit and calling at the door to ask the police in a peaceful way they leave the building, located on Colegio Militar avenue.

After getting no response they started to return to the zocalo, but that was when plain-clothed police – some arriving in a red Audi with no plates but with permits from the Department of Citizen Protection – along with a group of porros opened fire on the trucks. The last truck was hit three times.

Men and women started to run for cover, but Popular Revolutionary Front (FPR) member Aurelio Mendoza and Giovanni Rojas of the Broad Front for Popular Struggle (FALP) were both hit in the leg and were taken to the hospital by their friends. At night they were picked up from hospital by their families. They went with the special public prosecutor for teachers’ issues, Mayolo Coronel Martínez, whose presence was required due to the claims the police would make in order to arrest them after leaving the hospital.

Two economy and law students, Juan and Salvador – the latter also an FPR leader – suffered wounds on the back and forehead.

Some APPO, FPR, and FALP members as well as Benito Juárez University students attempted to resist the aggression with stones and marbles in catapults. When the police lowered their guns to reload there was a brief counteroffensive, because the aggression intensified on Belisario Domínguez road.

After 10 minutes of shooting, between 60 and 80 shots from 22 and 38 calibre and 9mm, from which the spent cartridges were collected and taken to the incident desk, the police shut themselves in the building, at which stones were thrown and a youngster from APPO was about to fire a rudimentary bazooka made for confronting a possible police or military raid.

In the building there were more than 50 security personnel and undercover police, as was verified when at 7pm a patrol rescued them in small trucks, vans and pick-ups and the director of Banking, Industry and Commerce Auxiliary Police, Alejandro Barrita López, could be seen.

Demonstrators managed to identify some of the civilian thugs- Marcos Mateo “El Aladino” Esteva Cruz, Alejandro “El Perro” Vázquez Núñez, and Carlos or Alfonso Domínguez Santaella known as El Krosty.

“We can’t let them go!” a demonstrator shouted through the shooting. “Let’s get back to the zócalo!” demanded another. But passions had been ignited. A woman with a sensible voice said “We have no weapons. How are we supposed to face them?”

In the afternoon, at the zócalo, APPO spokesman Florentino Domínguez Martínez attributed the agression to “the group around Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, who since learning of the creation of a subcommission of the Senate Committee for Interior Affairs, has been organizing brigades to open the offices closed since the end of July.

Among these brigades, apparently, were groups of hired killers, for which the Popular Assembly declared “a red alert due to possible acts of provocation.” The shootings show “the desperation of tyrant Ulises Ruiz’s group of assassins faced the fact that there are enough factors in Oaxaca for the Senate to revoke his power and name an interim governor”.

And faced with the announcement that three senators from the three major political parties would be coming to Oaxaca to verify the “ungovernability” in the state, since the early hours of this morning the mobile brigades strengthened their barricades and carried out occupied public offices like the ministry of Economics, Finance and Social Development in the historic center and residential estates of this city.

The activation of the mobile brigade and the actions of APPO and the teachers happened after the governor ordered the reopening, that day, of all the offices, with the intention of making the senators think the government was working as normal.

However, the state buildings hadn’t been in operation for more than two months and employees had rented “discreet” private homes to work from, to avoid the disturbance of their work by dissidents.

Actions carried out by the mobile brigades included painting slogans on public buildings against the governor. Among the various messages written on the walls were the following: “The dead, the prisoners, the assassinated, isn’t that ungovernability?” and “All power to the people. Remove the government’s powers.”

There were also 15 buses hijacked to block the exit route to Mexico City, with one of the principal APPO barricades under the antennas of Radio La Ley, from where the movement transmits its information, and Channel 9 in Brenamiel.

Meanwhile, the Section 22 spokesman, Daniel Rosas, confirmed that it had been decided to suspend talks on the possibility of a return to classes until the Republican Senate issues its resolution.

Midday Thursday – while the “Dialogue for Peace, Democracy and Justice in Oaxaca” started in the old Santo Domingo convent – Section 22 are offering a press conference, although tonight it was anticipated that though the teachers will consider the 17 points of the proposal from the Department of the Interior, they will declare it insufficient and unsatisfactory.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America