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Journalists attacked with machetes at local mayor's inauguration in Mexico

Antonio Mundaca, Eduardo Jiménez Sandoval and Víctor López, from Oaxaca, and José de Jesús Alcántara from Veracruz, were physically attacked by people linked to the People's Unity Party (Partido Unidad Popular , PUP) in Oaxaca.

On 1 January 2014, in the municipality of San Miguel Soyaltepec, Oaxaca, on the border with Veracruz, the El Tuxtepecano journalists were attending the inauguration of the local mayor. The mayor took office on 1 January following a win in the July 2013 elections that left two people dead, a PUP member and one from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI).

When they went to the municipality to document the swearing-in ceremony, the El Tuxtepecano journalists noticed that PUP supporters had blocked the road and that state police seemed to be trying to get them to leave the area. The journalists located former PUP candidate, Marco Antonio Gómez Torres, and spoke with him briefly. When the journalist got close to the PUP supporters, they attacked them with stones, machetes and sticks.

“When we tried to run away, one of our colleagues (Eduardo Jiménez) stumbled and fell and was beaten by the crowd. He was hit with a machete, but managed to get to his feet and was just hit on the sole of his shoe,” said Antonio Mundaca, the El Tuxtepecano editor.

Eduardo and José de Jesús were the most severely injured. José de Jesús had his camera and other work equipment stolen, but the state police provided him with medical treatment. Víctor and Antonio were cornered and punched and the PUP supporters threatened to kill them.

For ARTICLE 19, the attack on the El Tuxtepecano journalists is a sign that authorities in Oaxaca are not capable of guaranteeing free expression in the state.

The organisation is concerned that the attacks on the press in Oaxaca, committed in the past two years, have made it one of the most violent locations for journalists in Mexico.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Oaxaca authorities to guarantee the safety of the journalists attacked on 1 January and to punish those responsible, take action on the matter and ensure that attacks by political supporters on journalists do not take place again.

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