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Supporters Cheer Pinochet at Rally : 3 Deaths Reported as Crackdown on Opponents Continues

September 10, 1986|WILLIAM D. MONTALBANO | Times Staff Writer

SANTIAGO, Chile — Tens of thousands of Chileans roared their support for President Augusto Pinochet at a public rally Tuesday and applauded his promise of tougher laws against terrorism.

Waving and smiling, the 70-year-old Pinochet, his wife and government officials at his side, stood on a platform draped with Chile's national colors to review the placard-waving supporters who jammed a broad avenue before the presidential palace for the mid-afternoon rally.

The parade and rally came amid a continuing crackdown against Pinochet's political opponents and a quickening search for terrorists who tried to assassinate him Sunday as he returned to Santiago from his country home.

Killings Reported

Three men were reported murdered Tuesday in death squad-like killings.

The body of a left-wing journalist who was taken barefoot from his home Monday by armed intruders was found in a cemetery in suburban Santiago. The journalist, Jose Carrasco, had been shot 13 times. The intruders who seized Carrasco claimed to be policemen, his family said, but police authorities later said they had not arrested him.

The murders of a 30-year-old schoolteacher and a government maintenance man were also reported. Both men had relatives linked to terrorist groups, their relatives said.

Before the rally, Pinochet attended a funeral for the five bodyguards who were killed in the attempt against his life. Pinochet's left hand was injured in the attack, but he was no longer wearing a bandage Tuesday.

The search for the bodyguards' killers focused on a 28-year-old former exile who was said to be the attack's organizer. Investigators said they sought Cesar Bunster, the son of the Chilean ambassador to Britain in the government of Marxist President Salvador Allende, who was overthrown by Pinochet 13 years ago this week.

The government said Bunster had rented the five-bedroom country house with pool and tennis court from which the attack on Pinochet was launched, as well as four of the cars used by the terrorists. Bunster returned to Chile for the first time in March and worked for 10 days in August as a doorman at the Canadian Embassy here.

"We think it (the attack) was the work of the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front and may have involved as many as 40 terrorists who prepared for more than a month," government spokesman Francisco Cuadra said. The front is the armed wing of the Chilean Communist Party.

Arms recovered after the attack were of the same type as those found at huge, clandestine arms caches uncovered in recent weeks and linked to the guerrillas, Cuadra said.

Tuesday's rally, dubbed "the first day of the future" by his publicists and scheduled before Sunday's assassination attempt, implicitly marked the opening of Pinochet's campaign for another presidential term. His current term expires in 1989, but he is seeking military support to remain in power another eight years.

Pinochet stood for all of the impressive, expensive, well-organized and carefully orchestrated parade, a more than six-hour extravaganza that state television called "the largest manifestation in Chilean history."

"We are met in tribute to the president who will not pardon Marxism-Leninism," proclaimed an announcer promoting the nationally televised rally. "Pinochet, Pinochet!" roared the crowd.

During the rally, Pinochet told a state television reporter that he will ask Chile's military junta to call a plebiscite to adopt "laws to definitively attack terrorism." He did not elaborate.

Pinochet's opponents charged in a lawsuit last week that employees of state companies were ordered to attend Tuesday's rally. Similar crowd-building orders went to government-appointed mayors around the country, opposition political leaders charged.

There was no absence of spontaneity, however, amid the bands, floats and folk dancers at the rally. "Pinochet is Chile, Chile is Pinochet," the crowd chanted. Pregnant Rosanna Penaroli, clutching an infant to her breast, broke through a police barrier to kiss Pinochet. "All Chileans love him," she said.

Pinochet, who will mark the anniversary of his 1973 coup with a state of the union address Thursday, has the support of one Chilean in five, according to opinion polls.

Police on Tuesday listed 20 politicians, human rights officials, community organizers and students as prisoners detained under the state of siege.

Three French priests also remained in custody, but police released two Maryknoll missionaries, Terence Cambias, 48, of New Orleans, and Thomas Henehan, 48, of Chicago, without interrogation or charge, they said.

Reuters Still Closed

A Chilean priest, Jorge Orellana, and two Chilean lay workers arrested at the house where the Americans live in a working-class district remained in custody. The British news agency Reuters, closed Monday, has not been allowed to reopen because its dispatches have reflected "an unacceptable tone," Cuadra said.

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