(eng)Zapatistas occupy radio stations amid talks tension

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Tue, 14 May 1996 00:32:48 +0000 (GMT)

Zapatistas occupy radio stations amid talks tension
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico, May 7 (Reuter) -
Zapatista rebel supporters in the southern state of Chiapas
peacefully occupied two local radio stations on Tuesday and
pledged to carry out more takeovers until two recently jailed
alleged Zapatistas are released from prison.
``We are here because we want freedom for our colleagues, we
are just here to demand this, freedom for our jailed
colleagues,'' one of the protesters said in a message
transmitted over the XERA radio station in this colonial city.
Zapatista sympathisers, some wearing the trademark ski-masks
and red bandannas of the rebels, also took over the XEOCH radio
station in the nearby town of Ocosingo.
The protests coincided with an increase in tension
surrounding year-old peace talks between the rebels and central
government envoys. Zapatista leader ``Marcos'' threatened on
Monday to break off the talks over the jail term handed down on
the two alleged rebels.
A judge last week sentenced to 13 years imprisonment Javier
Elorriaga, a Mexican journalist whose television reports of the
Zapatista rebellion were sold to foreign broadcasters.
The government had accused him of being a Zapatista leader.
At the same hearing, the judge condemned Sebastian Entzin, a
Mayan Indian, to six years imprisonment for being an ``EZLN
militiaman'' and illegally carrying weapons.
Defence lawyers plan to appeal the sentences, saying the
only prosecution witness in the case never appeared before the
court to present his testimony and that a prosecution statement
had been obtained from another witness by torture.
The Interior Ministry responded to Marcos's threat to break
off the talks by warning of ``serious legal consequences'' if
the threat was carried out.
Arrest warrants against Marcos and other rebel leaders are
being held in abeyance while peace talks continue, but the
ministry made clear that they would come into effect again if
the negotiations were broken off.
The government also said it could not break the law and
interfere with the justice system to free the two men.
Reforma newspaper on Tuesday quoted legislators who met
Interior Minister Emilio Chuayffet as saying the government
would try to find a ``political solution'' to the situation.
Reut16:08 05-07-96

Reuter N:Copyright 1996, Reuters News Service