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Last Updated: Friday, 15 September 2006, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
Mexico protesters dismantle camp
Supporters of Mexico's defeated presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador dismantle their protest camp
The tent city has crippled Mexico City's centre since the end of July
Supporters of the narrowly defeated candidate in Mexico's elections have begun dismantling their tent city in the heart of the capital, Mexico City.

Traffic began flowing again along the main Reforma boulevard following weeks of disruption.

But Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who insists fraud denied him victory in the vote, says his protest movement has not ended but is moving into a new stage.

He says the next "phase of resistance" will be launched on Saturday.

Saturday is Mexico's Independence Day, usually celebrated with a parade in Mexico City, but this year President Vicente Fox decided to relocate the festivities.

He will now give "el grito" - the independence cry of "Viva Mexico!" - from the town of Dolores Hidalgo, where in 1810 national hero Miguel Hidalgo established the movement for independence from Spain.

'Violent plot'

On Friday, a presidential spokesman said "solid information" that radical groups were plotting violent clashes had prompted the move.

Defeated presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador addresses supporters in Mexico City's Zocalo, on the last day of their protest camp
We will not only begin a new stage of our movement, but begin the construction of a new Republic
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

"The only factor that was taken into account... was to defend the lives of people," said Ruben Aguilar, according to Reuters news agency.

"Under no circumstances can lives be put at risk."

Mr Aguilar refused to give any details of the alleged plot.

Mr Lopez Obrador had declared the president's decision to relocate the protest as a victory, after his supporters said they would hold a rival Independence Day party in the capital's vast main square, the Zocalo.

'Parallel government'

Also on Saturday, Mr Lopez Obrador plans to convene a so-called National Democratic Convention of his supporters.

They will discuss the future direction of the movement to reject the government of Felipe Calderon, the conservative candidate declared winner of Mexico's elections ahead of Mr Lopez Obrador by a margin of less than 1%, he said.

"We will, with the Convention, not only begin a new stage of our movement, but begin the construction of a new Republic - this is the purpose of the [Convention]," he said in remarks reported by Efe news agency.

It is also thought that the establishment of a "parallel government" to that of Mr Calderon, who is due to take office on 1 December, will be part of the discussions.

This would be the latest stage in the bitter dispute over the 2 July elections, which saw Mr Calderon attract just 240,000 more votes than Mr Lopez Obrador in a country with an electorate of 40 million.


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