November 13, 2001

Police break up Indian protest in Honduras

                 TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) -- Police with guns and clubs battled rock-
                 and machete-wielding Indian protesters who blocked the Pan-American
                 Highway. Officials said Tuesday that at least one person was killed and 16
                 others shot.

                 The clash occurred Monday night at a key section of highway near the Guatemalan
                 and Salvadoran borders.

                 More than 1,000 members of the National Council of the Chorti Tribe blocked the
                 highway to demand that the government turn over 14,000 hectares (34,500 acres)
                 of farmland in western Honduras.

                 "The government doesn't have lands in Ocotepeque and Copan," said Agrarian
                 Reform Minister Anibal Delgado. "The problem we face is that the landlords in
                 those areas don't want to sell their lands to the government."

                 Indian spokesman Julio Cesar Diaz accused police of using excessive force to
                 dislodge the protesters and said the group would continue its struggle.

                 Police charged the protesters repeatedly, and were beaten back several times.

                 The slain protester was identified as Alberto Rodriguez. The injured were treated at
                 a hospital in Nueva Ocotepeque.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.