Wednesday, November 15, 2006

August 10, 2006: Gunmen attack newspaper in southern Mexico, injuring at least 2

Gunmen attacked a newspaper critical of the Oaxaca state government Wednesday, injuring at least two people in the latest incident in a wave of violence that has driven many tourists from this quaint Mexican city.

Police said one worker suffered a minor gunshot wound in the raid on the Noticias newspaper while another had been beaten. No arrests were made and a motive had not been determined.

Reporter Octavio Velez Ascencio said two assailants barged into the newspaper and attacked employees. Velez said four people were injured but did not provide further details.

In March, a federal judge ordered a union dominated by the state's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party to disband pickets that had shuttered the newspaper's main offices for nine months.

Lino Celaya, a spokeswoman for Oaxaca state security, said Wednesday that the state had since smoothed over its relations with Noticias, and would fully investigate the attack.

Tensions in the city have been on the rise since June, when state police attacked a demonstration of striking teachers occupying the historic central plaza and demanding a wage increase.

Since then, thousands of teachers, unionists and leftists have camped out in the plaza, spray-painting buildings with revolutionary slogans, smashing hotel windows and erecting makeshift barricades. Most businesses remain closed.

The number in the camp varies periodically. There were more than 2,000 Monday, but some events during the protest have drawn several thousand more.

The unrest has paralyzed one of Mexico's top cultural attractions, where visitors to the southern city normally browse traditional markets for Indian handicrafts, hike ancient pyramids and stroll cobblestone streets to sample mole dishes.

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