Police ordered to restore order in Oaxaca

Mexican President Vicente Fox Orders Federal Police to Restore Order in Oaxaca

By Thomas Black

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Vicente Fox ordered federal forces to the state of Oaxaca to restore order after the deaths of three people, including a U.S. photographer, in a clash yesterday between protesters and armed men.

The forces will gather in Oaxaca City, the capital city where protesters have blocked the downtown for almost 160 days, according to an e-mailed statement from the president's office.

The statement didn't specify if the federal forces consist of military troops or federal police. Reforma newspaper reported that federal police are arriving in Oaxaca.

Bradley Roland Will, a photographer from Indymedia New York, was killed in an apparent shootout between local police and members of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, a protest group that joined a teachers strike, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico said in a statement. Emilio Alonso, a teacher, and a neighborhood resident, Esteban Zurita, also were killed in the incident, Reforma said.

``Mr. Will's senseless death, of course, underscores the critical need for a return to lawfulness and order in Oaxaca,'' said U.S. Ambassador Antonio Garza in the statement.

Garza said he extended a U.S. advisory against traveling to Oaxaca that was issued Aug. 24 and set to expire Oct. 30 because of violence.

``I again urge all U.S. citizens to consider very carefully the risks associated with traveling to Oaxaca at this time,'' Garza said.

Teachers in Oaxaca, who are on strike for higher wages, were joined in their protest by members of the popular assembly. The groups have barricades to block the downtown square of Oaxaca City and other municipalities, demanding the resignation of Governor Ulises Ruiz before lifting the protest. Ruiz has refused to step down and has called repeatedly for Fox to use force to break up the barricades.

Violence has escalated in Oaxaca in the last five months, including nine deaths, the embassy said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Black in Monterrey at
Last Updated: October 28, 2006 14:20 EDT

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