<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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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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The Toll of Friday the 27th: Three People Assassinated, Eleven Wounded, Two Missing

The APPO Installs 1,000 Barricades in Broad Daylight; PRI Militants and Police Respond with 21 Armed Attacks

By Diego Enrique Osorno
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

October 28, 2006

OAXACA CITY: In the face of a renewed civil strike established in this capital city yesterday by the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), groups of gunmen linked to three municipal mayors from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) launched a “cleansing” of the barricades and building occupations that opponents of PRI Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz have been maintaining for months.

The result: three people killed, eleven wounded, two disappeared, one detained by the Ministerial Police and hundreds of shell casings left scattered along the streets as a testimony to the 21 shootouts that occurred yesterday in the city.

This capital city has already been under a sort of siege for 154 days, but since 6:00 yesterday morning the city was now truly besieged, just as the APPO leadership collective had warned would happen as part of their attempts to win the ouster of the PRI governor.

And so around 1,000 barricades were installed in broad daylight throughout the city, as part of the dissident strategy seeking to demonstrate that “ungovernability” is a fact in the southern state.

Just before 10 a.m., the first of the twenty-one armed attacks on the rebels’ self-defense fortifications (and more were coming out as this article went to press) was reported.

There were four main points attacked almost simultaneously at 4:00 in the afternoon: one was San Juan Chapultepec, another was Colonia del Maestro, the third the around the State Prosecutors’ office, occupied more than three months ago by the dissidents, and finally, the barricade on Calicanto Street, in the nearby city of Santa Lucia del Camino.

It would be in this last site where the most violent confrontation of the afternoon would take place, when a group of PRI militants showed up to tear down the barricades together with officers of the Santa Lucia del Camino municipal police, who carried R-15 rifles.

Repelling the attack with sticks and rocks, the APPO neighborhood group sent out an alert to the rest of the neighborhood residents, who started to arrive. Journalists did the same, and did not stop their coverage of the shooting, which continued for more than an hour.

During one incursion by protesters trying to set fire to one of the houses that the neighbors were being attacked from, U.S. documentary filmmaker Brad Will was mortally wounded in the pit of his stomach.

In the municipality of Santa Maria Coyotepec, two hours later, another group of “neighborhood residents,” also armed with high-powered firearms, arrived at the area surrounding the state capital building and police facilities to “remove” a hundred teachers who had been camped out in the occupied state buildings for three months.

Two other people died from gunshots: a teacher, Emilio Alonso Fabián, from the Los Loxicha region; and a neighborhood resident named Esteban López Zurita. Upon hearing of the violent events, National Peasant-Farmer Federation (CNC in its Spanish initials, a PRI organization) leader Elpidio Concha denied he had been present but admitted to having spoken with Santa Lucía del Camino residents about the necessity of defending and rescuing the capital.

He claimed that among the people who intervened, “there had been PAN militants as well as PRI, as well as common citizens,” and stated his desire that after this event “federal forces come in at last and restore peace.”

Meanwhile, the mayor of Santa Lucia del Camino, Jaime Martínez Feria, acknowledged that the armed men in civilian clothes were “police acting in legitimate defense against the threat of an occupation of City Hall.”

For its part, the state government criticized the fact that, “a few days away from the agreed upon return to classes by the teachers’ union, members of radical APPO groups led by Flavio Sosa Villavicencio would unleash a day of violence and provocation against residents of the capital and neighboring communities with the clear goal of blocking the changing course of the conflict with these organizations.”

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