In a wave of coordinated demonstrations against the use of the army in northern Mexico’s crackdown on the warring drug cartels, hundreds of protesters on Feb. 17 blocked the international bridges over the Rio Grande at Ciudad Juárez, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo, as well as blocking streets and government buildings in in the northern industrial city of Monterrey and roads in the Gulf state of Veracruz. The cities were paralyzed for hours, and riot police used water cannons to disperse the protesters in Monterrey, where streets were blocked for a sixth day running by marchers chanting “Soldiers, get out!” Protesters accused the army of arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses. But Nuevo León Gov. Natividad González Parás (PRI) charged that protesters were recruited and paid by the Gulf Cartel. (AP, El Universal, Feb. 17)
On the same day as the protests, eight people, including a top-ranking police commander and two officers, were killed in presumed narco-violence in Juárez and Reynosa. Sacramento Pérez Serrano, acting Public Security Secretary for the Juárez municipal government, was gunned down with two of his agents by a squad in a pick-up truck, and one more officer was gravely wounded. In Reynosa, five presumed drug traffickers were killed in a four-hour shootout with police on the city’s streets. Four police officers and three civilians were also wounded in the gunfight, Tamaulipas state authorities said.
See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.