New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, December 25, 1996, Page 5

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 25, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas Herald-Zeitung □ Wednesday, December 25, 1996 Q 5AFormer hostages call for negotiations to end siege By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIAThe Associated Press (AP)- Freed hostages were calling for a negotiated end to the siege at the Japanese ambassador’s house, but there was no sign Tuesday that Peru’s government or the rebels who still hold 140 people are willing to give any ground. The select group remaining inside the walled residence - including Japanese businessmen, top Peruvian officials and the Peruvian president’s brother - were in their seventh day of confinement with no end in sight. Neither side made any public statements Monday, the day after the largest group of hostages was released since leftist rebels of the Tupac Amaru movement seized the compound during a Nov. 17 party. However, the Red Cross delivered meals - shepherd’s pie and vegetable salad - and some clean undergarments. Electricity also was restored for 45 minutes Monday so water for drinking and flushing toilets could be pumped to a tank on the roof. Authorities have cut off water, electricity and phone service. The rebels key demand is the release of 300 of their jailed colleagues. However, President Alberto Fujimori ruled that out during his sole public comment on the crisis. The only common ground is both sides’ stated desire for a peaceful resolution, which many of the freed hostages said was required. ‘’I hope it’s going to be resolved through negotiation. That’s the only way out,” said British Embassy spokesman Roger Church. He was among the 225 hostages released Sunday night. Hindering any effort at negotiations is the hostility between rebels and Fujimori, yvho built his reputation on getting tough with guerrillas. The goverment has refused to talk directly with the Tupac Amaru rebels. ‘’’The president thinks we’re stupid,’” former hostage Luis Peirano quoted one rebel as saying in a reference to Fujimori’s demand that the guerrillas lay down their weapons and surrender the hostages ‘I didn’t see them sleeping. But I also didn’t see them any worse for wear. After five days they didn’t look like they were tired out.’ — Kieran Metalfe on Tupac Amaru rebels The rebel then restated the group's principal demand: ‘’Either he free our comrades or we all die here.” Guerrilla commander Nestor Cerpa is keeping the hostages with the most political value, apparently to strengthen the rebels bargaining position in any future talks with the government. Inside the compound are: Peruvian Foreign Minister Francisco Tudela and the Supreme Court president; Fujimori’s brother, Pedro; ambassadors from Japan, Malaysia, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay; and several Japanese businessmen. Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said in Tokyo Tuesday that he fears the rebels are settling in for a long war of nerves. However, he added that Japan still opposed sending in troops to rescue the hostages. Hashimoto has said Sunday night’s big release meant the rebels could better control those who remain inside. By all accounts, the rebels who initially threatened to kill captives one-by-one have been treating their hostages well. The guerrillas appear fresh, in contrast to the haggard look of many of the released hostages. ‘’I didn’t see them sleeping,” said Canadian mining executive Kieran Metcalfe. ‘'But I also didn't see them any worse for wear. After five days, they didn't look like they were tired out.” The Tupac Amaru rebels, who have called for an end to Fujimori's free-market reforms, espouse a vague leftist ideology. In their communiques they say Peru’s government has ignored the needs of the poor and promoted policies to benefit the rich. They don't call themselves communists or Marxists. They have distanced themselves from the more violent Maoist Shining Path guerrillas. Manual Romero, director of the financial daily Gestion, said he held an hourlong conversation with Cerpa while in captivity. He said Cerpa did not seem to hold radical views and even endorsed the government’s plans to privatize state industries. The hostages recounted an odd ending to their captivity, saying some rebels had given quick hugs to some of the departing hostages - a sense of shared experience felt by the captives, too. Those who stayed behind, however, remain pawns in the bitter drama. ‘’Clearly they were really depressed by it,” Metcalf said. "As we were leaving several of them were gathered around on the upper part of the building and you could see them looking down rather wistfully.” Riot police mobilize as Milosevic supporters march on Belgrade By JUUJANA MOJSILOVIC    shouting    ‘’Traitors!    Traitors!”    and    place    as    opposition    rallies    held    "We    don't    want    violence,    but    if    rose    to    power    nine    years    ago.    to    provoke    clashes    by    disgui: By JUUJANA MOJSILOVIC The Associated Press (AP)- Riot police were on the highest state of alert Tuesday as diehard supporters of Serbia’s president - and apparently some unwilling workers - arrived in the capital for a rally the opposition warned could lead to bloodshed. Several hundred supporters of President Slobodan Milosevic traded insults with members of the opposition in downtown Belgrade. Before the planned rally, at least one banner was tom up by Milosevic’s foes. Opposition leaders appealed to their supporters to remain calm and ’’avoid any contact” with Milosevic’s supporters later Tuesday, when both sides were to demonstrate in the same part of the city. ‘’The Socialists want to trigger a fight and chaos in the center of Belgrade in order to have an excuse to impose police rule and a state of emergency,” said opposition spokesman Slobodan Vuksanovic. But on Belgrade’s meitf Republic Square, several hundred opposition supporters chanted ‘’Thieves” and ’’Red Bandits” at Milosevic’s supporters. They responded by shouting ‘’Traitors! Traitors!” Police were not visible. Government sources said riot police were on the highest state of alert as hundreds of buses arrived in the city bringing Milosevic’s procommunist supporters - mostly blue-collar workers and elderly people. Some who attended said they were threatened with dismissal from their work if they refused to board the buses. ”1 had no choice,” said a worker from the Kosovo province town of Prizren, who identified himself only as Ljuba. ‘’We were told either we board the buses, or we lose our jobs.” The orchestrated pro-Milosevic event was planned for the same time and place as opposition rallies held during the past month. Organizers said they wanted ‘’to show the world what real Serbia is.” About 80,000 pro-democracy supporters turned out in heavy rain Monday to demonstrate against Milosevic in Belgrade for the 34th consecutive day. Their leaders vowed to continue protests, and warned that Milosevic may be planning to instigate violence to justify a crackdown while the world is distracted by Christmas. The government bused about 600 riot police into Belgrade on Monday, deploying them on the outskirts of the capital. A huge force - including armored anti-riot vehicles - has been stationed there since the opposition protests started. ‘'We don't want violence, but if it happens, it will wipe the two of them away,” said opposition leader Vuk Draskovic, referring to Milosevic and his powerful procommunist wife, Miijana Markovic. The rallies have polarized Serbia and mark the biggest challenge to Milosevic’s autocratic nile since he rose to power nine years ago. A clash between pro- and anti-Mil osevic protesters would give Serbia’s president an excuse to ban all demonstrations and use force against his opponents, whose protests so far have been peaceful The opposition coalition, Zajedno, contends Milosevic will try to provoke clashes by disguising police as civilian supporters, who will then intervene against prodemocracy demonstrators. Several small pro-Milosevic rallies were held in Serbia on Monday, including one in the volatile Kosovo province where Milosevic rose to power in 1987. 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