Two photographers targeted by gunmen during shootout

AUGUST 22, 2006
Posted: August 25, 2006

Luis Alberto Cruz, Milenio
Jorge Luis Plata, Reforma


In the early morning, a group of heavily armed, unidentified individuals, traveling through the southeastern city of Oaxaca in a convoy of at least 30 cars shot at a group of antigovernment protesters and at Cruz and Plata, two photographers covering the story for the Mexico City dailies Milenio and Reforma.

Cruz and Plata took photographs of the protesters as they threw stones. The gunmen, who covered their faces, also allowed them to photograph them before the altercation, Plata told CPJ. After the shootout with the strikers, however, some of the assailants fired at Cruz and Plata, who were photographing the convoy as it fled. Cruz’s car received two bullet impacts on the front window. The photographers, who jumped out of the vehicle and hid behind a wall, were uninjured.

Minutes later, said Plaza, the gunmen shot at the offices of local radio station Ley 710, which had been occupied since the day before by strikers from the antigovernment group, Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO). Lorenzo San Pablo, one of the strikers, died from gunshot wounds.

Cruz and Plata told CPJ that some of the cars in the convoy were marked with the logos of the Municipal and State Police, although none of the assailants were wearing uniforms. Oaxaca State Prosecutor, Lizbeth Caña Cabeza, said at a press conference that she had ordered an investigation into the attacks. Caña denied any police involvement.

Unrest has gripped Oaxaca since authorities broke up a protest by striking teachers on June 14 with tear gas. The teachers went on strike for a pay raise May 22.|