Hartford Courant
November 20 2005

Protesters: Finish Inquiry

Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Dozens of protesters marched through Puerto Rico's capital Saturday to press authorities to finish an investigation into the death of a fugitive pro-independence activist during a shootout with the FBI.

The protesters walked from a plaza in San Juan to a federal courthouse, chanting slogans and accusing the government of "dragging its feet" on the investigation into the Sept. 23 shooting death of Filiberto Ojeda Rios.

"We are representing the indignation felt by the Puerto Rican people about the killing of Filiberto Ojeda Rios," said Hector Pesquera, a pro-independence activist who led the march.

He accused the government of failing to demand information from the FBI, whose agents shot 72-year-old Ojeda Rios during a raid on his farmhouse to arrest him for the 1983 robbery of $7.2 million from a Wells Fargo armored truck depot in West Hartford, Conn.

Ojeda Rios' widow, who escaped from the farmhouse unharmed, has accused the FBI of firing first on Ojeda Rios - a charge the U.S. agency has denied.

Ojeda Rios' death has been widely condemned in the U.S. Caribbean territory of 4 million, where some viewed him as a hero to the independence movement.

Critics have assailed the FBI's handling of the operation, especially for waiting nearly 20 hours before entering the farmhouse while Ojeda Rios lay wounded.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press