PFP Attacks University in Oaxaca

I was out of touch for one day and lots has happened. Just some quotes from other sites, since there’s no time to summarize–have to cut my 20 page paper down to 10 in the next hour and a half.

From Nancy Davies

The War is On in Oaxaca
Posted on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 01:06:16 PM EST

The war is on in Oaxaca. It began at 8:00 AM with the gathering of the PFP and an infiltration by porros (hired thugs) along with state police in plain clothes. There are 5,000 PFP and many people if they’re out there. The Rector of the university has called for unity and denounced the federal gov’t. The University is an autonomous community. The radio is calling for pacific resistance but since the feds are using tear gas the people are pissed off and the report is that they are starting to use rocks and sticks. Several people have been arrested and wounded, including three children. A helicopter is there and presumably may airlift people to the airport for getting them into custody.

According to George Salzman, later in the morning as PFP confronted ranks of mostly young male protesters, the protesters threw rocks, homemade missiles and molatov cocktails at the police:

When one of the projectiles hit the ground and burst into flame in front of the first line of troops a wave of adrenaline swept the protesters, many of whom ran forward and hurled rocks at the police. I’ve written a lot about the teachers and APPO maintaining a militant but non-violent struggle, which I remain convinced is correct. But this was a different matter: this was people trying to protect their own turf from being invaded by lethally-armed forces, and there’s no way the attempted defense could be described as non-violent. Had the police been ordered to shoot, it could have been a massacre. All that can be said is that the imbalance of power was incomparably in favor of the police; had it been used, it would have been overwhelming.

And from El Universal/Miami Herald this moring:

Along the avenue, opposite the campus, a mid-day soccer game in progress came to a grinding halt, but the players paused only for a moment before they scurried to find rocks and join the protesters in throwing them at the police from the field.

Men and women pushed shopping carts filled with rocks up toward the front line. They shouted to those coming from surrounding streets to bring rocks. An elderly woman advanced into the clouds of tear gas offering water that had been blessed by a local priest to the students.

The police were forced back, but only to open the way for a coordinated attack by riot tanks and their water cannons – with water laced with pepper spray.

Inside the university grounds, protesters coordinated brigades to rush Coca-Cola and vinegar, their remedy for the immediate burn of tear gas, out to the protesters. Announcers inside the university radio station called for supporters to bring food, water, and Coke to the university.

The battle then turned into chaos. The PFP drove their tanks up and down to disperse the crowd; three military helicopters flew overhead firing tear gas grenades. The protesters rushed the police and the tanks with thick volleys of rocks and then ran back to take cover and wash their burning faces in Coke.

By late afternoon hundreds more had joined the protesters, pushing the police back from the university, capturing a riot tank and setting it aflame. Two helicopters flew over, dropping tear gas grenades, but too late: at 3 p.m. the PFP were in full retreat.

Late Thursday night, APPO spokesman Florentino López said 55 protesters had been detained by the PFP.

Will check in tomorrow.

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