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Alan Pogue, 1701 Guadalupe, Austin, MARY NELL MATHIS, CPA, 18 years experience in tax, litigation support, and other analyses. 400 West 15th, #304, Austin, YELLOW DREAM MACHINE, computer bulletin board 2702. Disability-based subject matter. EMPLOYMENT POSTAL JOBS Start $11.41 /hr. For exam and application information call 6649, ext. TX-165 8 a.m. 8 p.m. 7 days. CLASSIFIED RATES: Minimum ten words. One time, 50 cents per word; three times, 45 cents per word; six times, 40 cents per word; 12 times, 35 cents per word; 25 times, 30 cents per word. Telephone and box numbers count as two words; abbreviations and zip codes as one. Payment must accompany order for all classified ads. Deadline is three weeks before cover date. Address orders and inquiries to Advertising Director, The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th, Austin, TX sionally, a few brave souls would briefly venture onto the plaza to dance to music in an act of spirited defiance of the closing political space around us. Eventually, even they gave up. Darkness was starting to fall on top of the mountains when news spread through the crowd that the FMLN muchachos were going to pull back, leaving all to wonder anxiously what to expect. Gradually, the FMLN forces relinquished the hill overlooking the plaza. Several FMLN squads of very young men and walked through the middle of the plaza carrying their weapons and some food. All eyes were fixed upon them in almost complete silence and dread. Everything else just stopped. “Assassins Out!” I asked a .group of locals what this all meant. One young man, Raul, patiently explained what was going on and graciously became my guide for the events that followed. The FMLN forces retreated to several hills immediately on top of the other side of town ernment forces advanced from the opposite side of the village. The hundreds of people in the plaza were now directly in between the fighting armies. Heavy exchanges of mortar and gunfire ensued as the FMLN sought to impede the advance of the Atlacatl battalion. Several government mortars blew holes in corn fields on the hills overlooking town, while another landed immediately behind an infant day-care center fortunately unoccupied at the time located on the edge of the town square. Total darkness engulfed the village. There was a break in the fighting. Rail explained to me that people feared that the Atlacatl would try to enter the town this evening and stop the celebration. Soon, people streamed down from the plaza to one of the side streets. Ratil and I followed and arrived just in time to silently watch a squad of 10 heavily armed Atlacatl soldiers with full packs pass by and then turn around and fall back two or three blocks. A video crew of internationals was right in front trying to film the whole episode. As the soldiers fell back, people began to shout at them, tinued jeering, led by the bullhorn. Spontaneously, a group of some 200 unarmed civilians, mostly adolescents \(the vast the Atlacatl soldiers, shouting at them to leave. My new friend Raul joined in and I followed; we were in the middle of the pack. I turned to him after half a block and foolishly asked him if this was safe. \(Unbeknownst to me, most of the internationals had been previously scurried off to the church for their own safety by our it’s OK.” A loud burst of automatic weapons fire towards the crowd suddenly erupted from the soldiers’ position. At this point the crowd jumped out of the street and up against the walls of the adjacent houses and turned to flee. Several of us turned up another side street to get out of the soldiers’ line of fire, whereupon gunfire opened up immediately ahead of us. It was not directed at us, but appeared to be aimed at the Atlacatl’s soldiers around the corner, back down the block. An FMLN squad had snuck up within a block of the soldiers’ flank and opened fire. The Atlacatl soldiers then began to return fire. I felt an overwhelming sense of panic, fearing the group I was fleeing with would be trapped in the crossfire between the opposing forces. We reversed our course and the gunfire stopped a few seconds later. Taking advantage of the lull, the same group of 200 or so civilians retook the street, again shouting and confronting the Atlacatl soldiers. The soldiers fired at the crowd again \(later I was told that they fired over our heads both The soldiers then decided to fire a tear-gas cannister at the crowd. However, in an act of poetic justice, the breeze shifted and blew it back on them. Gradually, people left and returned to the plaza, while the Atlacatl soldiers withdrew from town for the night. People were ecstatic! This young .group of unarmed civilians, in an act of incredible bravery and political will, forced the most elite battalion of the Salvadoran army to retreat from town, after they had already largely displaced their military foes in the FMLN. The people had vehemently and successfully defended their independent political space in order to continue with their program. Their CLASSIFIED 14 NOVEMBER 15, 1991