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(en) Mexico, Oaxaca, Account of the Prista attack sin Santa Lucia del Camino - urrounding Brad Will's death

Date Sun, 29 Oct 2006 08:45:31 +0200

Firsthand account of the situation surrounding Brad Will's (NYC
Indymedia Journalist) death in Oaxaca.
From what I hear as of now, the PFP (Federal srate forces) hasn't attacked
the city. They may invaid at night, which from Nancy Davies prediction would
likely be to forcefully remove the city-center zocalo occupation. B.
> Attacks across the city kill at least 4.
*NOTE: This account is not meant to be a complete account of the day, it is
meant to be from the perspectives and experiences of two people in the midst
of what can only be described as a battle in the streets of Santa Lucia, in
Oaxaca. We know that other things happened in other neighborhoods, and that
other things probably happened in our vicinity. This is our best effort at
capturing the events that we experienced and witnessed. *

On Thursday night, Barricade Three in Santa Lucia del Camino set up a little
earlier than normal. Reinforcing the barricades for Friday's day of action
required more trucks and buses than usual. At times, it was a chaotic scene
with *camión* after *camión* joining the barricade and people unsure of
where they should go. Eventually things calmed down. Many more people
usual guarded the barricade and the tranquility of the night had many
regulars taking time to lie down, if not sleep. As day broke, the barricade
took on the feel of a community holiday or small block party with small
children running about. At what felt like an informal pot-luck, people
brought tortillas and beans, sandwiches, bread, and arroz con leche. Most
chose to not cover their faces, despite this being a regular practice at
the barricades. Up to this point, the only "contentious" moment was the
permitted approached of a chicken truck that surprised several people.

Sudenly, about a dozen people started shouting, donning masks, picking up
Molotov cocktails (known as *bombas Molotov*) and *cohetes* (large bottle
rockets typically shit out of PVC pipes the people call bazookas), and
collecting rocks and sticks. A small group moved forward to see why a
truck that was part of the barricade (about 200 feet away) was moving and
investigate a commotion on the other side of that barricade. After
advancing about 100 feet, the group spotted 150 to 200 Príistas (supporters
of the authoritarian PRI party that ruled Mexico for 70 years and currently
"rule" the state of Oaxaca) marching toward the barricade. The
*cohetes*were fired into the air to warn the Príistas not to approach.
The warning was ignored.

The tiny group of defenders fell back to the barricade and gathered more
supplies. It was a chaotic situation. Prioritizing in the moment, a split
second decision was made to leave our bags, in part because rocks from the
Príistas were already falling where our bags lay. As we sprinted down side
streets to the closest barricade, there were shouts for children to go
inside their homes to safety. At the next barricade, people were banging on
poles and railing to sound the alarm and rally the neighborhood to fight the
Príista advance. People came out of their homes and armed themselves with
sticks, machetes, metal poles, *cohetes* and rocks. Once a fairly large
crowd had gathered several people started shouting "Vamos, compañerQos,
Vamos!" (Let's go) and "Avanza!" (advance). People began advancing to the
fallen barricade and the Príistas, spreading out along the width of the
four-lane highway, it's median, and sidewalks. Both sides fired their *
cohetes*, and as we drew nearer rocks started flying from both sides. We
pushed the Príistas back passed the remnants of the now disassembled
barricade. There was a lull of about thirty seconds as we populated the area
around the barricade before many decided to chase the still-visible Príistas
only about 100 feet away from us. Though most of them retreated faster than
we advanced, one unlucky Príistas was forced to choose his own safety and
well-being over that of his fancy SUV. The look of regret was visible on
his face as rocks crashed to the ground around him and he turned and ran.
The SUV, lacking a license plate, briefly became the target instead of the
retreating Príistas. Tires slashed, windows smashed, someone decided to
ensure that it was beyond use and set it ablaze. While some focused their
attention on the SUV, some continued to chase the Príistas. Most Príistas
had scattered into nearby homes and businesses, so people re-grouped back at
the barricade.

As we all clustered in the intersection, the two of us looked around and
estimated that there were at least 500 people ready to defend their
neighborhood. We were both amazed by what we were seeing. Neither of us
had ever witnessed such an incredible display of collective self-defense.
We both nearly cried at the inspiring sight of people successfully working
together to ward off aggression without centralized leadership. The
barricade reclaimed, sandbags replaced, and the Príistas pushed back, the
battle appeared for a few moments, to be over.

We're unsure as to the exact reason for the second advance, but we believe
that Príistas were again spotted at the next intersection where they had
scattered minutes before. As we cautiously advanced, walking in cover when
possible, shots were heard from the intersection and everyone ducked or ran
for cover. Many corporate news outlets, most notably those relying on AP
"reporter" Rebeca Romero (widely believed to be on Ulises Ruiz's payroll),
have claimed it was "unclear" as to who shot first. It was the Príistas.
the ground, on the receiving end of the gunfire, there is no doubt as to who
shot first. There is nothing "unclear" about it. It was the Príistas, shown
by El Universal photos and local television to be armed to the teeth, who
shot first.

After the shooting stopped, the group moved quickly to the other side of the
road and to the corner where the shots had originated from. The attacking
Príistas had retreated back away from the highway and deeper into the
neighborhood. Fifty to 100 people slowly advanced north a block into the
neighborhood while 200 people gradually moved up, either by going north, or
approaching it from the west by way of the barricade. Again the group moved
north, taking cover by vehicles parked along the street. In addition to
shooters at the far end of the street, more Príistas were taking cover
inside a building along the street. The building was targeted with
Molotovs, rocks, bricks, and *cohetes*. Someone kicked the door in before
Príistas down the street started shooting again and we had to retreat back
to the end of the block. This gave the Príistas time to close and blockade
the door. A few attempts with similar results gave way to milling about, as
we waited for reinforcements. One block west towards the barricade, about
100 people had gathered to take cover from additional Príistas on that
street. Soon we heard a truck roar to life and a few minutes later,
compañeros in a dump truck came to provide shielding for another advance. In
the first such advance, the truck went too far down the road, shooting
started again, at which point we fell back to the end of the block. Most
waited there while the truck maneuvered itself horizontally across the
street in front of the gate of the targeted building. Once the truck was
ready, another advance began and the truck smashed open the gate. Another
round of shooting began, and again everyone took cover and began to

At this point, Brad Will, an Indymedia reporter from New York, was shot in
the abdomen as he was filming. Many people ran to carry him around the
block and down the street. As we waited for a car to arrive to take him to
the hospital, efforts were made to keep him conscious and breathing,
including CPR. As Brad showed signs of consciousness and movement, the crowd
surrounding him cheered. He was carried into a car and driven to the
hospital. Moments later, as people were still taking in what happened, it
started to rain. People gathered up the Molotovs and *cohetes* and got them
out of the rain. About a half hour later, people started to gradually head
back to the barricade.

When we arrived at the barricade, we learned from a teary-eyed compañero
that Brad had died on his way to the hospital. People from APPO such as
Flavo Sosa arrived at the scene and were attempting to coordinate with the
rest of the city where there had been other attacks. Hundreds of bottles
were being filled and prepared as Molotov cocktails. Thanks to the help of
several compañeras, we recovered one of our bags; though the other which
contained a passport, several forms of id, travelers checks, over $1,000
pesos (most of which was intended to be used for the barricade), a video
camera, is gone and was presumably stolen by the Príistas. Hundreds
remained at the barricade for the night. The two of us went to a compañero's
house to rest, write and watch the news.

As of this writing, the Príistas have set up their own barricades within the
neighborhood, APPO has activated the mobile brigades, 4 or 5 people have
died, dozens injured, and barricade 3 remains up, reinforced, and
alert. Among
the attackers were local municipal police (such as Abel Santiago Zárate and
Juan Carlos Soriano Velasco) and politicians/PRI thugs (such Manuel Aguilar
and Pedro Carmona, the man identified as Brad Will's killer), all from the
neighborhood. Though the two of us had slightly differing expectations of
how the day would pan out, neither of us expected an attack of this kind or
magnitude in broad daylight. The diversity of people who fought the Príista
attackers was astounding. We saw young kinds helping to gather
*cohetes*and Molotovs.
We saw old women armed with rocks making their way to the front. We saw
people wearing circle As, hammer and sickles, and people who didn't wear
their political identity on their sleeves. In the end, it didn't matter who
you were, only what side you stood on.

La lucha sigue; the struggle continues.

"Tenemos dos manos y un corazón para luchar."

"We have two hands and a heart to struggle."


Two Poggers in Oaxaca


We didn't know Brad before meeting him here in Oaxaca, and wish to direct
you to accounts of his life that are better than anything we would be able
to write. Our thoughts go to his family, friends, and loved ones.



Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the dead and wounded whose names we
do not know and whose fates we did not witness.
* Report by antiauthoritarian anticapitalists
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