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(en) Mexico, Oaxaca, Media, Latest news, Leftists From Across Mexico Flood Oaxaca

Date Sun, 05 Nov 2006 09:21:27 +0200

(AP) A protester paints graffitti that reads in spanish "freedom to
political prisoners" during a march...
OAXACA, Mexico (AP) - Rickety buses and cars carrying leftists from
across Mexico rolled into Oaxaca's university Saturday to join
protesters preparing for a massive march to confront police.
Demonstrators plan to march Sunday from the university to police
encampments in the center of the city as part of their five-month
protest to oust the state's governor.
At least nine people have died since August in the unrest, which has
rattled outgoing President Vicente Fox's administration. The planned
march has sparked fears of more violence in the colonial city that was
once one of the country's main tourist attractions.
Protest leader Flavio Sosa, who is wanted by state police on
conspiracy and riot charges, said the marchers will not look for a
fight Sunday, but he fears police may provoke one.

"Our enemies carry out murders, persecution and arbitrary arrests,"
Sosa told The Associated Press. "We have the right to defend
Mexico's largest leftist group, the Democratic Revolution Party, has
said it would join the protesters who want to form human chains around
federal police detachments that enter the city.
The public university of 30,000 students in this southern city has
been transformed into a stronghold for protesters since Fox sent in
thousands of federal police last weekend to drive protesters from the
city center which they had seized. The demonstrators poured onto the
campus after the police pushed them out of the main plaza, where they
had camped out for months.
Masked men armed with bats and gasoline bombs patrolled the
university's gates Saturday, while the student radio station blared
pleas to fight police. The lawns were filled with barbed wire and
booby traps.
There have been no classes at the school this week, just talk of
revolution, the building of makeshift weapons and drawn-out fights
with police.

(AP) A protester confronts Mexican federal police officers as they
guard Oaxaca's Zocalo Saturday, Nov....
Full Image
"The university has always been a center of progressive thinking, so
it's natural that it has become the center of our revolt," Sosa said.
Federal police, who tried but failed Thursday to clear barricades on a
street just outside the university, are not allowed to enter the
campus under a law designed to protect academic freedom.
Protesters rushed out to attack the officers Thursday and police
fought back with nightsticks, water cannons and tear gas. More than 30
were injured in the six-hour battle.
Protesters said they fear the police could return at any moment, and
are making preparations for the next battle.
"We are on maximum alert," said Guillermo Contreras, a teacher and
protest supporter. "We will fight their weapons with our spirit and

(AP) Mexican federal police guard Oaxaca' s downtown Saturday, Nov. 4,
2006, in Mexico. Demonstrators...
Full Image
The protests began in May with a strike by teachers looking for better
pay and conditions in one of Mexico's poorest states. When police
violently broke up one of their demonstrations in June, protesters
expanded their demand to include the ouster of Gov. Ulises Ruiz and
were joined by leftists, Indian groups and students.
The protesters accuse Ruiz of rigging the 2004 election to win office
and sending groups of armed thugs to kill and intimidate his
Thousands of federal police clad in gray body armor now patrol
Oaxaca's historic city center to keep the peace. Crowds of people
flocked to welcome them when they first arrived, but some residents
say they are intimidated by their presence less than a week later.
"It's like we are living in a city under military occupation,"
storeowner Bernard Cruz said.
Others say they feel safer inside the campus than on the street.
"I feel scared even in my home, because people know my family are part
of the protests," said school cleaner Cecilia Gomez. "Here we have the
strength of numbers."
The conflict has shattered tourism in the city, which is popular for
its colonial architecture and ancient ruins. The embassies of the
U.S., Canada, Britain, France and Germany have warned their citizens
to avoid traveling to the region.
Among the nine people killed during the Oaxaca conflict was
activist-journalist Bradley Roland Will, 36, of New York, who was shot
in the stomach while filming a gunbattle on Oct. 27.
Two officials of a municipality on the outskirts of Oaxaca city are in
custody in connection with Will's killing.
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