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Mexicans Protest WTO Arrests, Mumia

December 12, 1999

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Rocks and fireworks flew from a crowd of demonstrators in front of the U.S. Embassy on Saturday, setting off a clash with riot police in Mexico City’s famed Zona Rosa tourist district.

The protest started with several hundred university students gathering in front of the embassy, shouting for the release of demonstrators arrested during the recent World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle and to demand the release of former Black Panther Mumia Abu Jamal.

Most of the protesters appeared to be radical members of the General Strike Committee of the National Autonomous University, whose 268,000 students have been on strike since April.

Local radio stations reported that at least three photographers were injured by rocks or by police and about 40 people were detained.

Abu Jamal faces a death sentence for the 1981 shooting of a Philadelphia police officer. Some leftists organizations claim he was framed for the killing.

Some protesters burned a U.S. flag, at least one fired a small rockets at the embassy and others hurled rocks at the building and at police guarding it. At least one window of the embassy was broken. Police then charged to disperse the crowd, dodging rocks and clubbing some protesters with their plastic shields.

Chased by police, hundreds of protesters fled across the tree-lined 14-lane Paseo de la Reforma boulevard, through the Zona Rosa, hurling rocks, smashing windows and painting slogans such as ``death to the evil government″ on building walls.

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