Here's a Yahoo article about today's attack on Oaxaca by the government. Take it with a grain of salt as always. I thought it was important to point out that yet another brave person has died in the struggle.





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OAXACA, Mexico - Federal police backed by armored vehicles and water cannons tore down barricades and stormed embattled Oaxaca on Sunday, seizing control of the city center from protesters who had held it for five months.


A 15-year-old boy manning one barricade was killed by a tear gas canister, human rights worker Jesica Sanchez said.

With helicopters clattering overhead, police earlier entered the city that was once one of Mexico's most popular tourist destinations. They marched up to a final metal barrier blocking the center, but pulled back as protesters with sticks attacked them from behind, hurling burning tires. The air filled with black smoke and tear gas.

Some demonstrators used syringes to pierce their arms and legs, then paint signs in their own blood decrying the police.

As night fell, however, protesters decided to abandon the center and regroup at a local university. They pledged to continue their battle to get Gov. Ulises Ruiz to resign, even as police tore down the banners and tents in the center that had served for months as the headquarters of often violent demonstrations.

Protest spokesman Roberto Garcia said 50 supporters had been arrested and police were searching houses, looking for leaders of the demonstrations. Police did not immediately confirm that.

Protesters said they had tried to contact the Interior Department late Sunday to negotiate, but were unable to reach anyone.

They also said electricity was cut to the radio station being used to transmit information to demonstrators.

At least eight protesters have died in clashes with police in the city since August. But President Vicente Fox, who leaves office Dec. 1, had resisted repeated calls to send federal forces to quell the violence, opting instead to try to negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff.

After the deaths of an American and two local residents in protests on Friday, Fox sent in thousands of federal police who launched the first major offensive Sunday to end the unrest.

The protests began in May as a teacher's strike in this colonial southern city of roughly 275,000. But the demonstrations quickly spiraled into chaos as anarchists, students and Indian groups seized the central plaza and barricaded streets throughout the city to demand the Ruiz's ouster.

Protesters accused Ruiz of rigging his 2004 election and using thugs to kill or crush political opponents. They say his resignation is not negotiable and they won't return home without it. The violence has driven away tourists, forcing hotels and restaurants to close their doors.

The offensive came after the teachers agreed to return to work by Monday; their strike has kept 1.3 million children out of classes across the state. But it was unclear whether the police action would undermine that agreement.

Once breathtakingly beautiful, Oaxaca's main plaza is now covered with graffiti, having served as a home base for protesters who first seized the area in late May.

As the offensive got under way Sunday, officers from the Federal Preventative Police climbed over burned-out vehicles, hijacked tractor-trailers, buses and sand bags blocking streets as they moved toward the central plaza. Some residents emerged from their homes to cheer and wave white flags, others fought to beat back their advance.

On one major street, police buses had most of their windows shattered by protesters hurling rocks and massive chunks of concrete.

Protest leaders urged those at street barricades not to respond to advancing police with violence.

Bertha Munoz, one of the movement's leaders, said that many demonstrators were peaceful.

"How can we confront them? We have already seen the R-15 (rifles) and AK-47s they carry," she said.

In Mexico City, several hundred supporters of the Oaxaca protests converged on a hotel where Ruiz was rumored to be staying, damaging the grounds and screaming "Murderer! Murderer!"

The protesters estimated that around 4,000 federal police had taken up positions around the edges of Oaxaca. There were no official reports, however, on how many officers were deployed.

Late Saturday, protesters gathered to mourn Bradley Roland Will, 36, of New York, who was killed Friday during a shootout between protesters and men they claim were local officials in Santa Lucia del Camino on Oaxaca's rough outskirts.

Will, whose body was laid out in a white shirt and a glass-topped coffin at a funeral parlor near the square, was remembered as a video and documentary-maker devoted to the protesters' cause.

A video posted by Indymedia.org showed the last minutes of footage Will shot Friday, apparently including the moment he was hit by gunfire.

U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza said Oaxaca police may have shot Will. Mayor Manuel Martinez Feria of Santa Lucia del Camino said five men seen brandishing pistols at the time of the shooting had been turned over to authorities. He identified them as two members of Santa Lucia's city council, two of that town's police officers and a former justice of the peace from another town.

In a statement, Will's family said it was "grieving over the tragic and senseless loss of Brad's life."