Masked Zapatista rebels and their supporters rode triumphantly into the heart of Mexico’s capital to be welcomed by 75,000 cheeringsupporters. Their arrival capped a two-week tour of southern Mexico. The rebels are demanding a sweeping series of constitutionalamendments that would guarantee greater political autonomy for Indians and expanded rights for their cultures.
Tonight, 24 Zapatista leaders are scheduled to meet with a congressional commission to press for an Indian rights bill and say they willnot leave until the measure is passed.
Yesterday’s event marked the first time a rebel group had openly paraded into the city since revolutionary leaders Pancho Villa andEmiliano Zapata–the rebels’ namesake–did it in 1914. Marcos said the Zapatistas were a different brand of rebels; “we do not aspireto hold power,” he said.
Comandante Esther more directly attacked Fox’s promise to use market forces to give Mexicans a better standard of living. “We don’t wanta little business, a compact car and a television,” Esther said, repeating one of Fox’s frequent phrases. “We want recognition of ourrights.”
- Subcomandante Marcos, rebel leader of the Zapatistas speaks from the central plaza, Mexico City.
- Jose Bove, radical French farmer and anti-biotechnology activist spoke from Mexico City where he was invited by SubcomandateMarcos to attend the Zapatista march.
- Scott Gurian, a reporter for WMBR radio, is in Mexico City has been covering the 2-week-long Zapatista march.