The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 20, 1989, Page 2, Image 2

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    News Digest feE*—
Amid combat, Salvadorans vote at
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -
Salvadorans voted for a new presi
dent Sunday as leftist revolutionaries
opposed to the election attacked mili
tary posts and army troops countered
with rockets and rifle fire.
At least five guerrillas and two
soldiers were killed in fighting in
nine provincial towns, according to
military officials and witnesses. Two
journalists and a Dutch television
cameraman also were reported
Early voter turnout appeared di
minished by the combat and a rebel
imposed transport ban. But Roman
Catholic churches were crowded
with Palm Sunday worshipers, at
least some of whom planned to vote
later. By midday, there were long
lines at the downtown polling sta
Turnout was light in smaller
“With these problems, it’s belter
to stay home,’ ’ said Jose Carlos Ortiz,
23. He spoke in front of his home in
the capital as guerrillas retreated
from an assault on a military post
three blocks away.
Sporadic rifle fire echoed from the
slope of the Guazapa volcano north of
the capital, a guerrilla stronghold, as
troops from the army’s elite Bra
camonte battalion pursued the insur
gents. Two air force helicopters raced
toward the volcano and fired rockets
into the mountainside.
Guerrillas of the Farabundo Marti
National Liberation Front are waging
a 9-year-old war againsl the U.S
backcd government.
Salvadorans voted to elect a presi
dent from among seven candidates.
Fidel Chavez Mena of the incumbent
Christian Democratic Party and Al
fredo Cristiani of the rightist Nation
alist Republican Alliance, or Arena
led the field in polls. But neither was
likely to receive the more than 50
percent required to avoid a runoff
next month.
Cristiani, favored to become the
country’s next president, pledged
free-market policies and reduced
state intervention in the economy.
His party promised to step up the war
if the guerrillas do not agree to lay
down their arms.
Surrounded by a mob of support
ers, Cristiani voted Sunday morning
on the capital’s central Roosevelt
“I hope the United States realizes
inat tsaivauoiain; --j*
with this effort they’re making to
vote. We don’t want any more
bombs,” he said.
President Jose Napoleon Duarte s
five-year term ends June 1. Duarte,
barred by law from running for re
election, is Washington’s staunchest
ally in the Western Hemisphere. He is
dying of liver cancer.
Chavez Mena is a lawyer and
leader of the Christian Democratic
Parly’s conservative wing.
The centrist Christian Democrats
contend Arena has not changed much
since it was founded in 1981 by indi
viduals allegedly linked to death
Arena denies links to death
squads. Cristiani says the party s
ideology is similar to that of the U.S.
Republican Party.
The leftist Democratic Conver
gence, whose leaders maintain for
mal links with the guerrillas, is run
ning third in the election, according
to polls. It was the first election since
• ; v —““ol '““"uiuaies ■
have competed.
About 1.83 million people out of a I
population of 5 million were eligible 1
to vote. Polls opened at 7 a.m. in 243
of the country’s 262 municipalities I
and were to close at 5 p.m.
Nineteen towns in the north did I
not set up voting stations because
election officials deemed those rebel- I
held ?x)nes too dangerous.
Ricardo Perdomo, chairman of the
Central Elections Council, said pre
liminary results would be available
early Monday. Rebel sabotage to
telephone lines and electricity, which
has cut or restricted power to 80 per- '
cent of the country, were likely to I
slow the vote count.
The rebels called a boycott of the
election and last week declared a
transport ban that has paralyzed bus
and truck traffic in most of the coun- fe
In San Sebastian, 30 miles cast of I
the capital, turnout was light.
Semiautomatic gets kick I
Polls find majority support ban on weapons
An overwhelming majority of
Americans favor a ban on semi
automatic assault weapons, al
though there is no consensus on
how such a ban should work, ac
cording to two polls released Sat
A nationwide survey conducted
by the Los Angeles Times found
that 80 percent of Americans fa
vored banning such weapons. A
Newsweek poll showed that 72
percent favor a permanent ban on
selling them, while 21 percent
opposed such a ban.
The Times poll found opposi
tion to the sale and possession of
the rapid-firing weapons across
political, ethnic, gender, geo
graphical and educational lines,
said survey director I.A. Lewis.
However, given several sugges
tions for how to remove the guns
from society, respondents split
three ways. Twenty-four percent
said the guns should be confiscated
from present owners, 30 percent
supported buying the guns back
and 30 percent would allow pres
ent owners to keep their guns but
ban new sales.
More than half of the 1,158
people polled in the Times’ tele
phone survey said only law-abid
ing citizens would obey the ban,
leaving the weapons mainly in the
hands of criminals.
The poll has a margin of error of
plus or minus 3 or 4 percentage
points, Lewis said.
According to the Newsweek
poll, 58 percent oi Americans be
lieve a ban would reduce the num
ber of killings by unstable people,
the magazine said. However, half
of those polled said they did not
believe such a ban would reduce
drug- or crime-related killings,
while45 percent said they believe
it would help.
Seventy-eight percent of those
surveyed said they believe people
should be required to provide more
information to police before they
are allowed to buy any kind of
firearm, while 15 percent said they
believe current laws are adequate.
The telephone poll of 756
adults was conducted March 16-17
and has a margin of error of plus or
minus 4 percent.
The issue gained national
prominence ir. January after a sui
cidal gunman killed five children
and wounded 30 other people in a
Stockton schoolyard.
The California Assembly has
approved a bill banning 40 types of
assault weapons and the Bush
Administration has imposed a
temporary ban on the import of
foreign-made assault weapons.
Heir stirs hope in some,
but creates doubt in others
-- The selection of a shrewd, affable
pragmatist as President P.W. Botha’s
successor is contributing to a surge of
hope for a peaceful breakthrough in
South Africa’s political stalemate.
So far, however, the optimistic
musings are coming almost exclu
sively from whites.
Black leaders make clear they will
be relieved when Botha steps down.
But they suspect his heir apparent,
F.W. de Klerk, will preside over
changes more cosmetic than substan
Mangosuthu Buthelczi, the Zulu
political leader denounced by many
black activists as too conservative,
says he will oppose de Klerk until the
government gives blacks full voting
rights. There is no sign de Klerk
contemplates such action.
At the other end of the black politi
cal spectrum, the African National
Congress guerrilla movement says
changes under de Klerk will be in
personal style, not National Party
De Klerk and Botha ‘ ‘arc pieces of
the same carcass,” spokesman Tom
Sebina said from the outlawed move
ment’s exile headquarters in Lusaka,
Zambia. “If the meat is bad, the meal
is bad.”
Botha, 73, resumed his presiden
tial duties last week after an eight
week convalescence from a stroke. In
the interim, he resigned as National
Party leader and was replaced by de
Klerk, the minister of national educa
In a dramatic chain of events,
Nationalist newspapers and politi
cians began suggesting that Botha
should retire, Botha responded by
declaring he would stay in office until
next year, and the party’s parliamen
tary caucus resolved that it wanted dc
Klerk to be president.
However, the parly has neither the
constitutional power nor the appetite
to force Botha from office. De Klerk
said Friday he will seek cordial coex
istence with the president while urg
ing his party to “break new ground”
in pursuing political reform.
De Klerk, who turned 53 Satur
day, has never been viewed as liberal
But supporters and skeptics alike
depict him as more open-minded anl
less imperious than Botha, who ha:
headed the government since 1978.
After becoming party leader, d<
Klerk called for a South Africa “free
of domination and oppression.’
Helen Suzman, long-serving leg
islator for the anti-apartheid Progres
sive Federal Party, said of de Klerk
“People are being too optimistic il
they think he is going to throw funda
mental policy overboard.”
Dc Klerk docs not have the sam<
close ties to the military and polici
that Botha nurtured. But he is com
milted firmly to segregating neigh
borhoods and schools for whites wh<
want them, and his proposal fo
“genuine power sharing” will
blacks as yet ha& no substance.
I housands march on Moscow
MOSCOW -- Thousands of Sovi
ets took to the streets Sunday to ac
cuse the Communist Party of sabo
taging Boris N. Yeltsin’s election
campaign and to threaten a general
strike if the maverick reformer fails
to win office.
The march through downtown
Moscow by 3,000 Soviets chanting
4 Hands off Yeltsin! ” was an extraor
dinary outburst of passions aroused
by Sunday’s election for a new na
tional parliament, the Congress of
People’s Deputies.
Yeltsin, 58, is running to represent
the Soviet capital, where he headed
the local party apparatus for almost
two years before President Mikhail S.
Gorbachev fired him.
At pre-election meetings and in a
televised debate with his opponent,
automobile factory manager
Yevgeny Brakov, the stocky, white
; haired Yeltsin has charged the party
machine he once led of conspiring
against his candidacy and restricting
‘ voters’ access to his campaign ap
; pearances.
Thousands of Yeltsin supporters
planned to rally after noon Sunday at
southwestern Moscow’s Gorky Park,
where a Russian folklore festival was
under way. When they were told
permission for the meeting had been
refused, they set off for the city’s
5 downtown.
i Their anger was also kindled by a
■ recent decision of the party’s policy
■ making Central Committee, an
> nounced Thursday, to form a special
r commission to investigate charges
i that Yeltsin, who is still a Central
.. Committee member, opposes some
parly policies.
The campaign against Yeltsin
appeared to enter another phase Sun
day when the parly’s Moskovskaya
Pravda printed an account about
Yeltsin’s character and poll ics. The
newspaper claimed it was a ‘myth”
that he was more faithful to pi inc iplcs
than others.
Yeltsin won the hearts of many
Muscovites with a campaign against
corruption and spirited attacks on the
privileges, from special Uxxl stores to
chauilcured limousines, available to
the government and party elite.
‘ He’s against the party mafia, and
that s why the party mafia is against
him,” declared one marcher on Sun
day, l aras Osipov, 65, a retired engi
neer. Yeltsin is with the people, and
for the people.”
The demonstrators, who carried a
hand-painted banner reading “Yes to
Yeltsin, no to the bureaucratic sys
tem!” glued pro-Yeltsin posters to
the walls of buildings along their
route, including the Foreign Ministry
Press Center, and called on passers
by to join them.
On Kalinin Prospekt, scores of
gray-uniformed police olliccrs,
backed up by KGB agents in plain
clothes, barred the way to the Krem
lin, the scat of Soviet power. The
marchers, including teen-agers and
people in their 60s, turned north on a
tree-lined boulevard, passed the
headquarters of the Soviet ne^s
agency Tass, and arrived at Gorky
Street, Moscow’s major shopping
In unison, the protesters bran
dished their fists and chanted their
demand to meet with Lev N. Zaikov,
a member of the ruling party
buro who succeeded Yeltsin as
Moscow parly boss in November
1987, and who leads the party ma
chine Yeltsin claims is working to
his defeat.__—.
Editor Curt Wagner Night News Editors Victoria AyoNe
472-1766 Chrle Carroll
Managing Editor Jane Hlrt Librarian Anne Mohr!
Assoc News Editors Lee Rood Art Directors John Bruce
_ Bob Nelson Andy Manharl
Ed.torial Page Editor Amy Edwards General Manager Dan Shattll
Wire Editor Diana Johnson Production Manager Katherine Policny
Copy Desk Editor Chuck Green Advertising Manager Robert Bates
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