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Mexico30 October 2006

Authorities says policeman, former paramilitary and two municipal officials fired shots that killed US cameraman

The authorities in Santa Lucía del Camino, in the Southern State of Oaxaca, have identified three people as suspects in the fatal shooting of US cameraman Brad Will on 27 October. They are municipal policeman Juan Carlos Soriano (on the left in the photo, in a red T-shirt and holding an automatic firearm), municipal personnel chief Manuel Aguilar (centre), public security director Abel Santiago Zárate (right) and a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which controls the state government, and Pedro Caramona, a former paramilitary. (JPEG)

The four men are alleged to have fired on a street barricade manned by protesting teachers and members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), who have been staging protests for the past five months in support of demands for the resignation of Oaxaca state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

Will, 36, was filming at the barricade when he was fatally shot in the chest. Several Santa Lucia del Camino residents formally identified the three officials. The municipal authorities confirmed that they are suspected of firing the shots. Indymedia said Aguilar, Zárate and Carmona, had been arrested. A fifth person was also reportedly involved in the Will killing.

Brad Will’s last video (link):

28.10.06 - US cameraman killed and photographer wounded in Oaxaca police shooting

Reporters Without Border said today it was deeply shocked at the death of US cameraman Brad Will, of the US news agency Indymedia, during a violent police crackdown on a demonstration by teachers in the southern state of Oaxaca yesterday. Photographer Osvaldo Ramírez, of the daily paper Milenio, was also shot in the leg.

The worldwide press freedom organisation called for Oaxaca state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, whose resignation the demonstrators were calling for and who last year had the daily Noticias de Oaxaca closed down for nearly six months, to be summoned before the new prosecutor’s office dealing with attacks on press freedom. It also urged federal authorities to investigate him and the Oaxaca municipal police, which it said had become a militia used by local officials.

“We are horrified by this escalation of violence,” it said. “The mood of revolt in Oaxaca must end.”

Will (whose real name is Wheyler), was shot dead with a bullet in his chest while reporting on a protest in front of the town hall of Santa Lucia del Camino (15 km from Oaxaca city) by the Oaxaca People’s Assembly (APPO), which groups 70,000 teachers and social workers, when police and agents of the governor opened fire on a barricade built by the demonstrators.

A dozen clashes occurred in the town and nearby during which two other people were killed. Five protesters were killed during earlier demonstrations in recent days by APPO, which is calling for pay increases.

Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s poorer states, has been in turmoil for more than a year. The teachers’ protests began on 22 May and since 14 June they have demanded Governor Ruiz Ortiz’ dismissal.

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