The leader of Mexico's Zapatista rebels has said he will return to his jungle stronghold in the southern state of Chiapas after his attempt to address Congress was blocked.
Subcomandante Marcos blamed the government and legislators for ignoring what he said was a massive show of public support for his movement's demands on indigenous rights.
He said he would find new ways to continue the struggle which started with the 1994 uprising in Chiapas.
The caveman politicians think that they can continue to operate with the racist, arrogant and authoritarian positions of the colonial era
Subcomandante Marcos and other rebel commanders arrived in Mexico City over a week ago, after a two-week national tour to highlight their demands.
President Vicente Fox, who has staked his reputation on reaching a peace agreement with the rebels, urged the Zapatistas to stay.
But the rebel leader accused the president of making empty gestures in calling for talks without meeting the rebels' conditions for dialogue.
The Zapatistas have been demanding that an Indian rights bill, based on a 1996 agreement with the government of the time, be passed. He also says he must be allowed to address Congress in full.
Legislators from several parties say the bill needs some modification, and say Marcos should only be invited to meet a 20-member congressional committee.
Subcomandante Marcos had earlier threatened to remain in the capital until a bill of Indian rights was passed.
However, announcing his departure, he said he was frustrated by "caveman politicians" who had refused to let him address Congress.
"Congress has been taken hostage by those who prefer to close their eyes to the national and international mobilisation in favour of the Zapatista cause," he said.
The Mexican flag waves over hundreds of thousands of Zapatista supporters in Mexico City's main Zocalo plaza Sunday, March 11, 2001. The national palace building is on the left. A caravan of Zapatisa commanders and hundreds of followers were enthusiastically recieved by supporters upon arriving at the capital from their two-week trip from the state of Chiapas. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
"The intolerance of the political class is clear."
Before leaving the capital next Friday, the Zapatistas plan to hold a series of mass rallies to protest at what they call the politicians' intransigence and to thank the people of Mexico City for their support.
More than 100,000 people attended an unprecedented Zapatista rally in the city's central square on 11 March.
The rebel leader said the show of support for the Zapatista cause had permanently changed Mexico's political and social landscape.
"This movement by common people has just begun and no one can stop it," he said.
Marcos did not elaborate on the form the Zapatista struggle would take on their return to the jungle.
Copyright 2001 BBC