Federal Police March on Oaxaca

For just over an hour the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) have been marching on Oaxaca City. Police are advancing with water cannon tanks and riot shields. They have cleared several barricades but others are holding their ground. Whether or not police are armed is unclear, but there have been several reports on the movement station Radio APPO of  PFP officers beating protesters. The station also reports that snipers are flying low over the city in three helicopters. Leaders continue exhorting the people to resist but to abstain from any violence against the police. Most people have followed the recommendations of movement leaders. A large, nonviolent march against the police is not moving throught the city. However, some have resorted to rock-throwing against the police. From La Jornada breaking news:

At 2:30 p.m., around 1,000 people outnumbered no more than 300 PFP officers who were carrying out one of the eviction and clean-up operations, according to a report on W Radio. As the police contingent (arriving aboard 20 public transit vehicles) continued its operation, the number of people protesting their actions increased.

As the PFP arrived, the demonstrators punctured the tires of two of the vehicles transporting the federal agents, and these had to retreat.

The members of the teachers’ union ant the APPO had previously thrown rocks at the federal agents, and at 2:30 had them surrounded.

Narco News copublisher and correspondent George Salzman sends the following report via email:

Just got a call from a close friend at the front-line barricade at 2 pm Central Standard Time. That's where the major highway from Mexico City nears the city. PFP bulldozer-equipped tanks with their blades lowered are moving towards the protestors, who are lying on the ground. Using tear gas and water cannons. Helicopters above. Another two calls in next four or five minutes. People scrambling away. No more frantic calls by 2:12. Nancy called from Zócalo about 2:11. Word is that PFP coming to Zócalo. Televisa camera crew waiting at an outdoor table, all ready for their shoot. Nancy's heading for home. Hope my friend at the barricade is OK. He's had word the PFP is also moving from the airport.

Nancy Davies reports from the zocalo, also via email:

The PFP are entering the center from several directions, 2:45. The streets are empty, there are about two hundred people in the zocalo, many of them women, some carrying long poles with white flags… The roads are blocked coming in, but people seem ready.


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About Dan Feder

I was a member of the Narco News team in various capacities, from webmaster to Editor-in-Chief, from 2002-2008. Since 2006 I have also been a member of the International Peace Observatory, which performs human rights accompaniment for Colombian campesino organizations in conflict zones. I am now living in Boston and working as a website developer for DigitalAid, Inc.