Mexican authorities issue arrest warrants
The government also announced Monday that it would offer farmers a much
price for the land on which they want to build the new Mexico City airport.
Under the new proposal, farmers would be offered about $21,000 per acre
times the original offer that the protesters had called an insult. Some farmers have
said they won't sell their land at any price.
The announcement came two days before the scheduled start of talks with
farmers, who are fighting to prevent the government from expropriating -- or
paying what they feel is too little -- for their land.
Earlier this month, the farmers took hostage 15 state officials, policemen
people and held them until the government agreed to release farm leaders arrested
during an earlier clash with police.
Mexico State Attorney General Alfonso Navarrete Prida declined to identify
people on the arrest warrants, but said they were outside agitators not farmers, the
newspaper Reforma reported.
The government wants to buy cropland surrounding the town of Atenco, on
western outskirts of Mexico City to build a new, six-runway airport. The current
airport is operating at capacity, and cannot be expanded because it is surrounded by
homes and businesses.
The farmers of Atenco have promised further violence if forced to give
fields and if they cannot reach an agreement with President Vicente Fox in the
Mexican anarchists, leftists and national farm groups have been drawn to
recent months to brandish machetes and denounce the expropriation of farms to
build the new airport.
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.