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News (Media Awareness Project) - Mexico: Mexican City Is Blockaded by Gunmen
Title:Mexico: Mexican City Is Blockaded by Gunmen
Published On:2010-12-10
Source:New York Times (NY)
Fetched On:2011-03-09 18:32:03

MEXICO CITY -- Gunmen blockaded President Felipe Calderon's hometown
on Thursday, forcing drivers from their cars, trucks and buses, then
setting the vehicles ablaze in the middle of major intersections.

Jonathan Arredondo, a spokesman for the attorney general's office in
Michoacan State, where the blockade occurred, said the brazen effort
stopped traffic around 11 a.m. at all five entrances to Mr.
Calderon's hometown, the colonial city of Morelia, ending only after
the fires died down.

It appeared to be a show of force by La Familia, a drug gang. Several
of its leaders have been arrested in recent months, but the criminal
outfit -- notorious for beheadings, methamphetamine production and
brash attacks on government forces -- continues to fight for control
of the area west of Mexico City that it has dominated for years.

Only a day earlier, in a nearby city in Michoacan, a series of
shootouts between federal police officers and suspected La Familia
gunmen left three people dead -- an 8-month-old, a 16-year-old girl
and a federal officer. In a statement, the federal police said that
in at least one case on Wednesday, gunmen ambushed officers from both
sides of a road, using automatic rifles known as "goat horns."

It was unclear whether the blockade was connected to the earlier
violence, or was perhaps meant to rebut recent claims by a detained
La Familia leader that the cartel was in decline. On Thursday, the
police said that no arrests had been made so far, and that the
blockade had left one man injured, with a gunshot wound in the leg.

Mr. Arredondo said the injured man was a 75-year-old diabetic. "The
criminals were frustrated because he was walking slowly," Mr.
Arredondo said. "So they shot him."

Morelia has been struck by violence before. In 2008, a grenade attack
tore through a crowded Independence Day celebration, killing eight
people and wounding more than 100 others.
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