Activists Shut Down Mexican Consulate

More than 200 protesters in New York shut down the Mexican consulate for nearly an hour this morning to call for an end to the violent repression in Oaxaca that has left at least five dead in recent days, including independent journalist Brad Will.

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Will was gunned down on the outskirts of Oaxaca City Friday by a group of government-backed paramilitaries that included plain-clothes police officers, who opened fire on striking demonstrators.

Monday's action in midtown was in solidarity with the Oaxacan demonstrators, who put out a call to shut down Mexican consulates across the U.S. and Canada as federal police stormed their city Sunday. And it featured many of the Earth First! style tactics that Will himself championed. All told, a dozen people were arrested in New York.

In handling a demonstration called to denounce an attack on a journalist in Mexico, the police here at home were surprisingly aggressive toward the media.

One freeelance photographer sporting an NYPD press pass was forcibly collared by three officers when she refused to stop shooting Indymedia videographer Brandon Jourdan's arrest.

Veteran New York Times photographer Ozier Muhammad also had his credentials seized when he objected to being ordered out of the street. The police took away his camera briefly then let him off with a summons for obstructing governmental administration. "I don't know why they bother to give you credentials if there is no distinction between the press and protesters," Muhammad said.


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