Blockades in Acapulco: an armed group unleashes a violent day with shootings and vehicle set on fires 

u Uno de los vehículos incendiados por desconocidos la tarde de ayer en la carretera Acapulco-Zihuatanejo, a la altura del poblado El Pedregoso. En total resultaron dañados dos autobuses, ocho camiones con mercancías, dos tráileres y un automóvil. No hubo reporte de personas lesionadas.

The city of Acapulco, once a jewel in the crown of Mexican tourism, suffered another violent day. A group of heavily armed men caused chaos in the city on Wednesday afternoon after setting fire to at least twelve cars, imposing blockades and unleashing shootouts that caused anxiety among residents and tourists who visit the city at the height of the holiday season. The events occurred around noon, when a group of transporters blocked the Acapulco-Zihuatanejo highway, near the Jardín neighborhood, in the western part of the Mexican city, in response to a police operation. Authorities deployed members of the Navy, the National Guard and the Army to regain control of the coastal city. Many tourists and other visitors had to walk more than an hour to enter the tourist area. 

Until now the authorities have not reported on the exact causes of the violence, which has also affected transport units of private companies. The local media narrate scenes of terror by tourists and neighbors. A group of armed and hooded men hijacked a bus carrying a group of tourists for a couple of hours. The armed men threatened them and took all the passengers down and then burned the vehicle with all the luggage. The scenes broadcast on local television show a city in chaos, with vehicles on fire, blockades of at least two hours and shootings that unleashed panic among the residents. “We attended an Acapulco Cup soccer tournament and many families, and many minors were left in the midst of the situation,” a witness told the Reforma newspaper. “All this was happening on the main avenues, until four in the afternoon [on Wednesday] the sheltered parents were on the fields,” added the witness. 

In a brief statement made public hours after the incidents, the authorities of the local City Council explained that the deterrence protocols were activated, and they managed to control access to the coastal city. They reported, according to the EFE agency, that the National Guard helped a hundred tourists and residents who were stranded in the middle of the blockade. 

These events occur two months after civilians clashed with police officers and took over the Guerrero Congress with an armored vehicle. Thousands of people broke through the security fence in the capital of Guerrero and took the Autopista del Sol on that occasion. The clashes left at least six dead. Guerrero is one of the states hardest hit by organized crime violence. Clashes between criminal groups for control of public transport routes and drug trafficking are common in that region. Violence hits Acapulco hard, where there have been shootings, kidnappings, and murders at tourist businesses. Local media continually report armed men entering bars and restaurants to commit murder. Last November three bodies appeared on the city’s beaches over a weekend. It was the tourists who enjoyed the paradisiacal coasts who alerted the authorities to the discovery of the bodies. 

    Source: El Pais