[Translations of two articles from El Nuevo Diario of Santo Domingo for June 14 and 16. See originals here and here and related articles here, here, and here. Salcedo, a city of about 45,000 inhabitants, is the capital of the northern province of Hermanas Mirabal.]
Salcedo becomes a battlefield between demonstrators and police
by Miguel Cruz Tejada
Salcedo – The main streets of this city, especially those in the marginal neighborhoods, were turned into chaotic battle fields when demonstrators supporting an indefinite strike called by the Frente Amplio de Lucha Popular (FALPO – Broad Front for Popular Struggle) and other organizations joining the stoppage clashed with agents of the Black Helmet SWAT team, units of the elite “Linces” of the National Police and soldiers of the National Army, who were reinforcing the police, with gunshots, bombs, rocks, bottles and other objects, while more than 90 percent of businesses responded to the call for a strike. Beginning Wednesday morning, the strikers, led by FALPO, have taken to the streets, blocking commercial lanes, stopping the flow of vehicles, throwing stones and confronting the public forces, with the support of thousands of residents who see their protests as justified.
Burning tires, poles, rocks, glass, staples and other obstacles were thrown into the streets and highways by the strikers, whose principal demand is that those responsible for the killing of the youth Héctor Ramón Medina, who was killed in an earlier protest, be arrested.
In the face of the resistance of the strikers, the police and army agents responded with gunshots and crushing repression, killing 30-year-old Jonathan Paulino yesterday as he was buying a toy for his son at a store near his home, when he was struck by bullets supposedly fired by National Police agents.
Mirtha Paulino, sister of the victim, said that yesterday was her mother’s birthday but that this was the gift the government gave her. “Killing my brother, that is the gift they gave us,” added the disconsolate young woman.
Among the injured are the youth Jonathan Ramos, who was struck by five bullets in different parts of his body, Johanna Altagracia Rosario, whose leg was injured, a person identified only as “Kiko” and another whose name and the nature of whose injuries were not disclosed.
A neighbor of Paulino, who asked not to be identified out of fear of reprisals, said that in order to resolve any problems in Salcedo, residents have to go on strike, especially in the case of demanding justice for the killing of Medina, whose death authorities apparently intend to leave unpunished.
“They come here, they kill and they want the deaths to be left at that (unpunished),” added the woman.
Darío Camilo, a FALPO leader, warned in turn that the strike will continue indefinitely until the authorities arrest those who killed Medina and Paulino and bring them to justice, as well as freeing all those arrested in connection with the strike.
Camilo added that leaders of the PLD [Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, the governing party] and the administration want to assassinate him.
Six young people have been killed in Salcedo during the tenure of police Colonel Almánzar, who the strikers also demand be removed from his position.
In New York, the association of natives of Salcedo living in that city, who showed their concern in a communiqué on the situation, is calling for an assembly tonight in the Centro Comunitario y Cultural Hermanas Mirabal in the Bronx, at which the problem will be discussed.
Protests in Salcedo leave four dead, 22 wounded and ten jailed
A total of four dead, 22 wounded and ten jailed is the tally left by intense protests occurring in Salcedo in the last few days. Meanwhile, the meeting called for today between local authorities, members of the police and representatives of the Frente Amplio de Lucha Popular (FALPO) was cancelled because those called to the meeting did not appear.
The dead were identified as Ricardo Hernández Guzmán, Rafael Antonio Cáceres and a pregnant woman, Dilenia Quezada Ulloa. To these three victims is added Jonathan Paulino, who died last Wednesday in the El Mango sector.
Among the 22 injured are two minors, one of whose legs doctors had to amputate and who remains in the Hospital Traumatológico Juan Bosch in El Pino, La Vega province. Meanwhile, police Privates Joel Sánchez and Carlos Pineda also suffered injuries.
César Cáceres, a relative of Rafael Antonio Cáceres who also has injuries to several parts of his body, blames members of the police for the death of his relative and for the injuries he suffered.
Meanwhile the call to protest by demonstrators and family members of the four victims, who attribute the deaths of their relatives to police agents, continues.
The community lives in tension and all businesses in Salcedo have been closed since the protests began. All sectors are militarized.
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