Labor unions in Mexico demand release of protest leaders

Labor unions in Oaxaca City celebrated International Workers' Day on Tuesday with a march demanding the release of protest leaders jailed during anti-government riots last year. No violence or arrests followed.

On Monday, a group of students took over a university radio station in the colonial city and transmitted messages in support of the leftist movement that led protests calling for Gov. Ulises Ruiz to resign.

The students forced their way into Radio University, which had served as the nerve center for the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, or APPO. They said that they would leave on Wednesday and block highways throughout the state.

The conflict began last May as a strike by teachers seeking higher pay. It quickly grew into a broader movement including Indian groups, students, farmers and left-leaning activists claiming Ruiz rigged his electoral victory and has repressed opponents. At least nine people were killed in the violence, including New York activist-journalist Bradley Roland Will.

Residents and tourists avoided the city center for more than five months until federal troops restored order in October.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova