As a result of a recent hike in fuel prices, Mexicans of Quintana Roo took to the streets to protest. The Mexican Government put a stop to some of its subsidies and increased the maximum price of fuel. These changes resulted in an increase of about 13% in regular gas; 20% increase in premium and diesel saw a hike of about 17%.
The increase became effective on New Year's day. On Thursday, several businesses and malls closed their doors to show their dissatisfaction with the price hikes. Later in the day, Chetumal residents set up road blocks and began to vandalize businesses, including the looting of gas at gas stations.
#520721 - 01/06/1708:41 AMRe: Chetumal riot, teargas near the Plaza las Americas Mall
TOTAL DISORDER erupts in Chetumal, Mexico - Many Belizeans are asking us if it is okay and safe to travel to Chetumal, Mexico today after vandals confronted the local municipal police last night around 9:00 p.m. in an attempt to vandalize and loot several business establishments at the popular multi-plaza "Las Americas".
Other convenient stores, various pharmacies, a TelMex branch and a Subway franchise were also targeted during the protest and looting last night.
Many businesses today, particularly, the smaller enterprises have taken precautionary measures and some have closed. The larger enterprises have obtained the services of the municipal police with the backup of the National Army and so, Plaza Americas and its subsidiaries remain open as of this morning.
Mexico stores looted following hike in fuel prices
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We asked a police officer this morning who stood guard at the "Plaza Americas" and he told us that it is safe for Belizeans to come across the border for their particular needs, since they have increased their mobile patrols and have engaged the military, as well, to protect life and property. This was quite visible when we visited the area where the chaos erupted last night.
However, we spoke to an immigration official at the Santa Elena border and she told us that there may be some flare ups during the night but could not tell us for how long. She suggested to be vigilant.
We want to suggest that Belizeans travelling to Chetumal right now, to be vigilant, exercise caution and ask the immigration and the border management authorities in Chetumal, Mexico how the current environment in the city is before you decide to cross.
This morning at around 10:30 a.m., we drove as far as Plaza Americas where the situation started and we found no issues in relation to lack of security or feeling unsafe but we say "be guarded".
Avoid areas where you see a congregation of people that may suggest protesters or vandals.
As a result of last night's incident a Police Officer, Joaquin Morales was injured and dozens of persons arrested. The reason for the vandalism and attempted vandalism could be linked to a protest against the recent increase of fuel prices in Mexico but there may be other reasons for these actions by the so called protesters.
The business community and the residents of that municipality have denounced these acts of aggression.
We hope our Belize Ambassador to Mexico can give us an official take on this current issue for the safety of our everyday Belizean travelers.
#520726 - 01/07/1712:03 AMRe: Chetumal riot, teargas near the Plaza las Americas Mall
Tonight, there is concern in Belize for our northern neighbors in Mexico, or more specifically, in Chetumal after a night of looting and unrest in the capital of Quintana Roo. Indeed, you may think of it as a peaceful and easygoing city, but last night there were pockets of unrest in Chetumal, and police had to lock down the town.
But, while it was slightly chaotic, and totally uncharacteristic, it wasn't as bad as all the facebook rumours might suggest. From what we have been able to tell, there was no mass looting in Chetumal, and the Plaza De Las Americas Mall was not thrashed, as some reports suggest.
In fact, what happened in Chetumal is a microcosm of what has been happening all across Mexico, in as many as 14 of 32 states states, causing looting at 250 stores. The unrest was triggered by a 20% increase in gas prices, after the Mexican government decided to stop subsidizing fuel prices. This has driven up pump prices, and even tortilla prices, and unleashed waves of violent demonstrations and looting across Mexico in the past five days. According to international press reports, close to a thousand people have been arrested and three people were killed amidst looting in Veracruz. AND last night in Chetumal, things were definitely on edge as State police had to fire their weapons to disperse the crowds looking for an opportunity to loot. Jules Vasquez put together the various facebook videos:…
And while that was the scene last night - what did it look like today? Well our team is on the way back frOm Chetumal and we'll have that story for you in our next segment.