Mexico: police killings spark protests

Three undocumented immigrants were killed and eight others injured when state preventive police fired on a truck near San Cristóbal de las Casas in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas on the morning of Jan. 9. Police agents opened fire after the driver refused to stop the truck, which was carrying some 30 Chinese, Ecuadoran and Guatemalan immigrants entering from Guatemala in transit to the US. The agents continued to shoot during a 20-minute chase that ended with the truck crashing. All the injured and at least one of the dead had received bullet wounds; the driver and an immigrant smuggler escaped. Two of the agents were reportedly detained. (La Jornada, Jan. 10)

Also on Jan. 9, some 4,000 people marched in Ocotlán in the western state of Jalisco to protest the killing of 21-year-old Fernando López Alejandre by municipal police on Jan. 1 and to demand the removal of Mayor Absalon García Ochoa, of the center-right National Action Party (PAN). Police chief Filiberto Ortiz Amador had been dismissed two days earlier. The agents shot Lopez Alejandre, a bass player with the Arcadia Libre rock band, as he was driving with a friend. Residents say the police regularly harass youths. Both Mayor Garcia Ochoa and former police chief Ortiz Amador are reportedly close to Jalisco governor Francisco Ramirez Acuna, a PAN leader. Garcia Ochoa and Ortiz Amador were state security officials in May 2004 when state police violently repressed a demonstration in Guadalajara against a summit held there. (La Jornada, Jan. 10)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 11

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