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Mexican farmers take more hostages

Several hostages are seen onstage as they speak before the media, in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, Saturday.  

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- A group of Mexican farmers, angered by the government's appropriation of land for a new airport near Mexico City, took four more hostages on Saturday -- the third day of the standoff.

The protestors are holding 11 people -- mostly government workers -- and have threatened to kill them if authorities do not release a dozen protestors, who are in custody.

Authorities did release three protesters Saturday after determining they had not participated in attacks on police.

No negotiations were under way, but the farmers -- who have formed the People's Front for the Defense of our Land -- said they are planning to visit the prison where their comrades are being held.

Among the hostages held by farmers opposed to the new airport in the Mexico City suburb of San Salvador Atenco were three people who had been posing as journalists.

The standoff began Thursday when farmers blocked a highway north of the capital. When police arrived, firing tear gas, the farmers responded by attacking with machetes and sticks. Protesters continue to block highways connecting the suburb to the city center.

The airport construction has generated controversy for months. Farmers who live on the site of the proposed facility said they are being offered too little for their land. The airport will include three runways and a passenger and cargo terminal.

State and federal government officials say the protesters are being manipulated by opposition political parties.

-- CNN Correspondent Harris Whitbeck contributed to this report.




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