January 13, 1998 in Nation/World

Chiapas Police Open Fire On Indian Protesters Army Arrests 27 State Police At The Scene Of The Shooting

Associated Press

Chiapas state police opened fire Monday on a group of stone-throwing Indian protesters, killing a woman and wounding two others, a news report said.

In Mexico City, the government said the army had arrested 27 state police at the scene of the shooting, which occurred near Ocosingo, 40 miles northeast of San Cristobal. The government also said it would overhaul the state’s police force.

The demonstrators had rallied to protest the recent massacre of 45 Indians. The melee erupted as they prepared to return home and met police at a gas station outside town.

Film footage showed the demonstrators hurling rocks at police and exhorting them to leave the area.

Police responded by firing tear gas canisters. When that failed to stop the hail of rocks, they shot into the air with guns and later, lowered their barrels into the crowd.

Earlier on Monday, a local police commander said he was only following orders when he delivered the weapons used in the attack that killed the 45 Indians, the attorney general’s office said. The testimony was the first indication of direct involvement by state officials in the Dec. 22 massacre in Acteal.

The following fields overflowed: DATELINE = SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, MEXICO

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