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Zapatista rebel backers march in southern Mexico

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MANUEL DE LA CRUZ | December 21, 2012 03:56 PM EST | AP

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OCOSINGO, Mexico — Thousands of supporters of the leftist, indigenous Zapatista movement have marched in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas to commemorate a 1997 mass killing and the end of the current cycle of the Mayan calendar.

Organizers said some 12,000 people marched in the cities of Ocosingo, Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas. The marches marked the Dec. 22 killing of 45 indigenous Zapatista backers by a rival armed local group. They also marked the conclusion of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar.

The Zapatistas last marched in May 2011 in support of a movement against drug-cartel violence in Mexico.