Additional Information – Oaxaca

Saturday, October 28, 10:30AM

Dear Friends,

A few hours ago it was announced that President Fox had ordered the Federal Police (PFP) to enter the city and they are expected to arrive throughout the day. This follows yesterday’s coordinated attack by undercover municipal police on the city’s barricades which left 4 dead (among them Brad Will, a 36 year old American reporter with Indymedia) and as many as thirty five injured. The city is on edge, and my own understanding of what is happening is based mainly on Radio Universidad, the last surviving movement-controlled radio station.

As some of you may already know, the teachers union, Section 22, ratified a vote on Wednesday to return to work, subject to certain guarantees from the Secretary of the Interior in Mexico City. The vote itself produced a crisis within the union, and the final vote, 30 thousand to return to work against 20 thousand to stay out, appears to have fallen along geographic lines with Oaxaca city and the Valles Centrales strongly determined to stay out. Yesterday (Friday) the leadership of Section 22, including the now widely-discredited leader Enrique Rueda Pacheco sat down with the Interior Minister to finalize an agreement at the very moment that the coordinated attacks were underway here in the city. As teachers and movement supporters were facing roaming death squads, the negotiations in the capital took on a surreal appearance. For among the principal issues being discussed in Mexico City was the government’s former offer of a general amnesty, and the movement’s demand that all political prisoners arrested during this struggle be released, and arrest warrants dropped.

Listening to the radio yesterday was chilling as reports were called in from throughout the city and outlying areas — in the town of Santa Maria Coyotepec (where the ‘Govenor’s Palace’ is now located and the site of one of the largest occupations) we learned that up to twenty five people had been shot, by evening the wounded were gathered in the church and volunteer medics were trying to get to them; in Calicante just east of the historic center, Brad Will and two others were shot at another important barricade; in another part of town a woman was reported dragged from a barricade shouting and taken away in a car. At midday the radio itself came under attack and the student and teacher announcers called for emergency reinforcements of the surrounding barricades. Over and over we heard that people at the barricades were being shot at while they had only rocks and sticks to defend themselves.

This morning, with the news of the imminent arrival of the PFP, I spoke with a friend who is a member of Section 22. A young teacher, she had just returned from bringing food to the barricade in San Antonio de la Cal. It is one of perhaps a dozen barricades in the city that the APPO this morning has directed people to defend — they have called on people to abandon the small barricades of which there are hundreds, and to concentrate forces around the critical ones outside government offices. She told me that though there were only a hundred or so people at the barricade, and though they are hungry and tired, they plan to do everything possible to defend the barricade today against the PFP. On the radio moments ago, the announcer said that they had been informed that the ‘Caravans of Death’ would be reactivated today at noon. Meanwhile, the Federal Police are on their way, and while the Minister of the Interior has insisted that they will enter the city peacefully, everyone here remembers what they did in Atenco in early May. What will happen today is still uncertain — both in terms of what the PFP will do, but also, more importantly, what the hundreds of thousands of residents of the city will do.

Please help to spread the word, and alert others in the network of media to turn their attention to the struggle ongoing.


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