At least two other people were also killed on the streets of Oaxaca yesterday. Indymedia reports that Brad was filming from the Santa Lucia Barricade when plainclothes paramilitaries opened fire on protesters from a distance of 30-40 meters. Brad was shot in the chest and died on the way to the hospital.
Brad had been in Oaxaca taking video and reporting on the state wide popular uprising and teacher strike that began in June with the violent attempted removal of the striking teachers from their encampment in the center of Oaxaca City by federal police forces. 3 others were also killed alongside him (making 4 dead in total); 1 member of Radio Universidad was also injured: he was taken to the hospital in a volkswagen van as police would not let any ambulances come.
Since the beginning of the strike in June, teachers and other groups have formed the APPO – the Popular Assembly of the Oaxacan People – and have called for the removal of the governor of state Ulises Ruiz of the PRI. There is a long history of Mexico using government sponsored paramilitaries to repress social movements, including a massacre of hundreds of students in Mexico City in 1968. As reports of protesters surrounded by armed government forces and police continue to pour in, activists in cities around the world are planning protests at Mexican embassies in outcry against the violent aggression against the people of Oaxaca.
“We know that they killed at least one person. This person that they killed was from the alternative media that are here with us. He didn’t work for the big television news companies and didn’t receive pay. He is like the people who came here with us on the bus, who are carrying the voices of the people from below so that they would be known. Because we already know that the television news companies and newspapers only concern themselves with governmental affairs. And this person was a compañero of the Other Campaign. He also traveled various parts of the country with us, and he was with us when we were in Yucatán, taking photos and video of what was happening there. And they shot him and he died. It appears that there is another person dead. The government doesn’t want to take responsibility for what happened. Now they tell us that all of the people of Oaxaca are mobilizing. They aren’t afraid. They are mobilizing to take to the streets and protest this injustice. We are issuing a call to all of the Other Campaign at the national level and to compañeros and compañeras in other countries to unite and to demand justice for this dead compañero. We are making this call especially to all of the alternative media, and free media here in Mexico and in all the world.”
There is ongoing coverage as more information emerges from NYC Indymedia, global Indymedia. For Independent Media from Oaxaca check out Indymedia, and in Mexico Centro de Medias Libres. For background information in the situation in Oaxaca, see Upside Down World and browse through the archives at NarcoNews.com
Brad’s friends in New York are calling for emergency actions this weekend to demand that the US State Department press the Mexican government investigate Brad’s murder and expressing solidarity for the social movement that Brad gave his life to document. In New York, a protest has been called for today, Saturday, October 28, at 3 p.m., outside the Mexican consulate general in New York at 27 East 39th Street.
Please come out if you can, and if you’re in other cities please check your local Indymedia for information on local actions, or organize your own. The situation in Oaxaca is extremely urgent and while this awful tragedy hits very close to home for us, it is only one part of the ongoing repression against a vibrant and powerful grassroots movement for justice in Mexico.
UPDATE: We’re also getting word of more events at the consulate — here’s the full list of events:
Saturday, October 28, 3pm: Demonstration
Saturday, October 28, 7pm: Vigil
Monday, October 30, 9am: Demonstration
All events at the Mexican consulate general in New York at 27 East 39th Street, at Madison Avenue.
Update November 9th 2006
MEMORIAL AND CONVERGENCE IN HONOR OF BRAD WILL
November 11th-12th, 2006
Friends Of Brad Will for more information about the service and Encuentro that are to happen at St. Marks Church