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Oaxaca media under violent attack

by jlaw Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006 at 10:25 PM

Paramilitaries and police in Oaxaca have begun a violent campaign to shut down all media operations critical of the Ulises Ruis regime.

After many nights of threats and firing in the area of the Fortin mountain, which hosts the antenna of Channel 9, a television station under control of the women of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), at approximately 3:40 a.m. Monday morning the encampment located at antennas of Channel 9 was attacked. It was reported that paramilitaries and police officers dressed in black, some with there faces covered, arrived in six pick –up trucks and fired at people guarding the antenna with high powered weapons.

Teacher Sergio Vale Jimenez, 58 years old, was injured by a bullet in the leg; he is now hospitalized. The antenna for Channel Nine was damaged and the channel is currently not broadcasting.

Moments later, APPO sympathizers took over installations of the majority of the city’s radio commercial frequencies (98.5 FM, 105.7 FM, 510 AM, 1120 AM, 1001 FM, 820 AM) where they urged the population of Oaxaca to take to the streets to defend encampments located throughout the city. Citizens protesting outside one of the commercial radio stations were subjected to a drive-by at 9 a.m. by unidentified individuals.

The night of Aug. 20 an armed command assaulted the bodegas located in the municipality of Santa Cruz of the newspaper NOTICIAS, where members of APPO have control of the local government.

This sequence of events represents a heightened onslaught of violent attacks on media critical of the regime of Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz. NOTICIAS has been targeted by the government and operating under repression for more than two years. The transmitter for Radio Planton, the voice for the movement in the center of Oaxaca city, was destroyed during the unsuccesful eviction attempt on June 14. The transmitter for Radio Universidad, another media of the movement and under control of the students, was ruined by infiltrators in the beginning of August. Channel Nine, which was taken over by a women’s march Aug. 1, had been transmitting via television news and information of the movement for almost a month.

As a result of the recent violent attacks, the entire state of Oaxaca is on alert. The popular movement, encompassing countless organizations and millions of people, is demanding the resignation of Ulises Ruiz and the dissolution of state powers. Friday, more than 80,000 workers participated in a civic strike in Oaxaca city. Oaxaca’s situation is culminating to a dangerous head as the government refuses to heed to the demands of the people and the state remains in a condition of ungovernability.

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