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Police Wounded in Shootout over Land

May 1, 1987

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ About 250 peasants and their supporters occupied 4,100 acres of commercial land Thursday for a second day, after five policemen were wounded in a shootout.

At issue is a parcel of land in the border state of Sonora belonging to the pork products firm of Bachoco S.A. The land is near the town of Navojoa, near the Pacific coast about 266 miles south of the Arizona border.

The dispute over the peasants’ right to the parcel dates back to 1966 when then-President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz ordered the land turned over to them, an order that has never been carried out.

The ″invasion,″ as such occupations in land reform disputes are called, began Tuesday with about 110 protesters. They were joined Wednesday by 40 students from the University of Sonora and about 100 other supporters, many of them armed.

State police said the protesters fired on a group of police who were trying to cordon the lot at about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. But occupation organizer Fausto Leon Uriarte said the police started the violence by using tear gas on the protesters.

One of the officers remained hospitalized Thursday in grave condition, police in Navajoa said.

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