<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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Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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Federal Preventive Police Arrest at Least Fifty Despite Non-Violent Resistance by the APPO

High Presence of Citizens and Awareness on the Streets Give Oaxacans a Sense of Optimism

By Nancy Davies
Commentary from Oaxaca

October 30, 2006

Radio Universidad has come back on the air. However, power to the entire zócalo had been lost, and Santa Lucia del Camino, the site of Brad Will’s death, was blacked out as well.

We’re at the end of a long day. Some APPO people are holding a few barricades, but several buildings have been re-taken by the Federal Preventative Police (PFP). Two boys, a fourteen year old and a twelve year old, have been reported killed. The police were aided by large trucks with plows, some with high pressure hoses, as well as tanks. There was also rumor of another shooting death, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Fifty people have been arrested so far. The PFP are entering houses and have arrested eight as a result. Those eight have not been specifically identified as APPO leaders and their names are still unknown. The news we received was later confirmed by La Jornada.

A friend within the APPO, who was in the zócalo when the PFP began to approach, said the following:

Photos: D.R. 2006 Nancy Davies
“I have been in the center of Oaxaca since the PFP started to move in. I came from the northern entrance to the zócalo at around 2pm and, at first, the police were keeping a line two blocks to the north, with people from the APPO standing face to face with them. There were a few scuffles, but no serious confrontations.

After a while the PFP drove in on three buses and blocked the north and southbound streets of the zócalo. However, shortly after blocking the streets with the buses, the police left the scene heading west, leaving the buses behind unguarded. People from the movement did not wait long to unblock the streets by pushing the buses off the intersections where they had been placed by police.

Later in the afternoon the PFP – standing man to man, in full riot gear – closed off the southeast corner street of the zócalo and sealed off the southwest corner of the square as well, forming a wall with their shields. Behind the line of south-east corner were approximately 200 police officers and a bulldozer; on the other corner there were about fifty police. The people were right in the faces of the police, chanting that “Oaxaca is not Atenco,” among other slogans. The area was filled with press photographers, internationals, and Oaxacan men, kids, and women, who made up the large majority of the crowd. Speeches about maintaining a presence in the zócalo throughout the night were made from the gazebo. People were urged not to confront the police, to maintain their calm and not give the police a pretext for attack. One man, who was carrying a metal bar for protection, was told by another person to leave it behind. After he handed the bar away the people around him started to applaud.

The PFP stayed in the same place for hours were still there when darkness fell. People I spoke to were speculating that the federal police had been surprised by the amount of people on the street and were going to retreat. An air of winning the battle spread, but I’m is not convinced that more violent PFP won’t be seen tonight.

The scent of teargas was apparent in the whole area. It seemed to have been fired, but not directly in the zócalo. I think two buses and one car were set on fire, and a lot of tires and garbage were being burnt on the street corners.

Generally, people went out onto the streets when the PFP moved so they could watch what was going on. Groups of people were standing on each street corner, listening to the radio and informing each other of happenings elsewhere. Surprisingly, most of those standing outside weren’t movement people. I saw a few Oaxacan friends that I know are non-political and are not involved whatsoever. There just seemed to be a general concern about what was happening. There were no pro-PFP sentiments or negative feelings towards the movement, as far as I could see.”

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