Nov 12, 2006

Attack on McDonald's the Latest in Oaxaca Unrest

(Oaxaca, Mexico) Four youths wearing masks tossed gasoline bombs at a McDonald's restaurant in the city of Oaxaca on Sunday, damaging the building but causing no injuries. A similar act was carried out last week against a Burger King franchise in Oaxaca.

Leaders of the protest movement denied that their members were responsible for either attack.

The restaurant is near Oaxaca Autonomous University, where protesters set up their headquarters last month after riot police drove them out of the city‘s central plaza. The protesters had occupied the space for five months in a bid to improve funding for rural schools, but the protest evolved into a more general movement to oust the Oaxaca state governor.

On June 17, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO, from Asamblea Popular del Pueblo de Oaxaca) declared itself the governing body of Oaxaca.

Brad WillLeft: Passersby try to help independent journalist Brad Will after he was shot in Oaxaca; photo courtesy of La Reforma

Among the dozens of people who have been killed in the conflict are teachers, social workers, and journalists. Bradley Roland Will, a 36-year-old freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker from New York, was shot on October 27 while filming a gunbattle between protesters and suspected paramilitary forces.

Evidence that the unrest is spreading can be found in three explosions in Mexico City on November 6 that damaged a ScotiaBank branch, Mexico's Federal Electoral Tribunal, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) headquarters. Guerilla groups from the Oaxaca province claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the APPO denied involvement.

"We don't condemn anything, but we also don't have anything to do with these acts," said protest leader Flavio Sosa.


Marion Lee Johnson said...

historymike, How are you getting this information from Oaxaca. I have very good American friends who live there. What is the situation for American residents there.?? Do they have utilities and phone service??

Calico Jack said...

journalists. Bradley Roland Will, a 36-year-old freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker from New York, was shot on October 27 while filming a gunbattle between protesters and suspected paramilitary

Never having heard of Oaxaca or the problems there, I don't have much to say. I tend to take exception to the highlighting of Will's death, as he was shot during a gun battle. What did he expect, anyhow? If he's a journalist, he should know that he's going to make enemies on both sides. Even if Will's caught a stray bullet, gun battles between protesters and suspected paramilitary (what ever that may be) are going to consist of more spray and pray than controlled shooting.

historymike said...

Indymedia is a good source of coverage, although you have to sift through the biases of individual reporters.

The attacks on businesses have made the major wires ervices.

It is ugly in Oaxaca, but there does not seem to be any overt anti-Americanism. The attacks on businesses seem to be more anti-corporate, or anti-globalization, than anti-American.

Your Oaxaca friends are probably well aware of the areas to avoid, Marion. I have not heard of any disruptions in utilities - the violence from the left seems to be of a publicity-generating nature, while that on the extreme right seems to be targeted toward leftist activists.

historymike said...

Agreed, Calico Jack. While some people want to see Will's death as a sign of bad intent, I think we have to acknowledge that war zones are dangerous, and sometimes good people get killed by plain old bad luck.

Of course, perhaps one of the paramilitaries just had it out for Will, who knows...

Hooda Thunkit said...

It's surprising that ALL the televised media have been ignoring or downplaying this, not so much the MSM though.

And, it does sound more anti-corporate than it does Anti-American; after all, many of their family are in America too.

Actually, THEY are also in America, the truth be told, just not the USA part.

microdot said...

The unrest in Oaxaca has been going on for months. The Federal goverment of Mexico has voted for the Oaxacan officials to give up office, but they refuse. That is the crux of this strife!
It is also the war against corruption and the bigger struggle of the huge class of the poor finally becoming aware that they have power. The Mexican Presidential election is still being protested and fought over. That has boiled down to a conflict seen as election stolen by the small wealthy ruling class from the poor majority.
We see video and reports all the time in Europe.
I kind of like the fact that they are burnng McDonalds and Burger Kings, it might start a trend.
I am a SLOW FOOD radical!

Calico Jack said...

I stumbled across this while searching for new p0rn:


Brad Will, 36, a former East Village squatter and community gardens activist turned Indymedia reporter, was killed last Friday by paramilitaries in Oaxaca City as he was documenting the uprising against Ulises Ruiz, governor of the state of Oaxaca (pronounced “wah-hahka”).

His final video begins with Will doing an interview about the insurgents’ fight to maintain control of a local radio station. There had already been gunfire from the paramilitaries that morning. Will then follows along with a group of Oaxacans who, despite sporadic gunfire, chase one of the paramilitaries into a building, then use a dump truck to ram an opening in it. At some point, either this paramilitary or another fires a shot that strikes Will in the abdomen. The tape ends in commotion, with Will crying, “Help me!” and others shouting, “Grab him!” as they try to pull him to safety. The camera is left on a ledge, still filming.