Thursday, November 02, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Juarez University assault update I

Ok, I'm back. A bit breathless but still in one piece. The PFP is really playing dirty. They sneaked in and stole the propane gas tanker which was the APPistas sourthern-most barricade. The PFP has denied some Glorious Leader of the Outsanding Workers party (GLOW) the opportunity, nay, his fundamental right, to turn himself into a human blowtorch. I feel a lot better, now.

I can't see much except for smoke. The APPistas have torched about 8 trucks that were near and around the disabled propane tanker. I think that's our neighborhood garbage truck out there. It is eerily quiet here. After 4 days and nights of round-the.-clock sporadic rocket explosions, there is almost nothing.

The PFP is advancing from the north, about a mile from me, an area called Cinco Señores. I would suppose that they did this because there of the big Pemex gasoline station there. They could move the propane tanker from the southern end but gas stations are more difficult to relocate, at least on just a few hours notice. The PFP has control of the gas station and are advancing down Avenida Universidad, firing tear gas both down the street as well as lobbing shells over the university's western wall. There is at least one helicopter in the air as well as the mysterious small plane.

They advance in 3 lines, much like a phalanx. The front line is stretched across the street from one side to the other. It is composed of men with helmets and gas masks, shields and batons. No firearms. I repeat; NO FIREARMS. Indymedia and Narco News claim otherwise but even a glance at any of the photos or videos shows that what I observe is typical. This front line takes the brunt of the opposition's force. There are some 15 of these men currently hospitalized with burns from Molotov cocktails.

Behind that line are a group, about 1 for every five front-liners, in ski masks and carrying rifles. They are there so they can step forward if the front line starts taking weapons fire. The third line are the men with the tear gas launchers. They move forward to fire between the front line men, then back up to reload, then move forward to fire again. Interspersed throughout all 3 lines are the cammanders, moving forward and back, side to side, to direct the tear gas fire and their front two lines. These are the guys who have to give the order to fire to the riflemen.

I might note that the riflemen are all masked for two reasons. First, so that, in the event they kill someone, future reprisals against them by the opposition will be difficult. And second, and this is just my opinion, they cannot be identified for prosecution by the human rights groups, opposition political parties, and, indeed, their own commanders.

In Mexico, most police that you see are not armed. Those that are had better not use their weapons, especially if it just in defense of their own lives. Silly laws like these are what help breed the super secret, local government sponsored paramilitary hit squads. If you cannot legally use firearms against attackers, you wait and get them later.

They have, so far, been met with the APPistas' usual tactics; throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, fire rockets at waist level, hurl vile insults against the PFP's mothers and sisters and then run like hell. The problem with the PFP's strategy for us locals down here is that the APPistas are running this way.

Developing (heh).

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