Location Mexico Mexico

Over 1,600 people arrested for looting during gas hike protests in Mexico

Over 1,600 people have been arrested for looting across Mexico over the past week, during protests against the sharp rise in gasoline prices, the Interior Ministry announced Tuesday.

In an interview with Mexican TV station, Televisa, the Under-Secretary of the Interior, Rene Juarez, said that around 480 commercial centers had been sacked during acts of vandalism since Jan. 3, especially in the center, east and southeast of the country.

The federal government hiked gasoline prices by up to 20 percent in certain parts of the country, due to international prices and the depreciation of the peso against the U.S. dollar.

Despite broad public discontent, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Monday that he had struck a deal with the country’s productive sectors to avoid other price hikes on top of gasoline. However, the deal was not signed by the country’s largest business groups.

Juarez added that while protests continued, they were being carried out peacefully, and said that vandalism had been overcome.

However, on Saturday, scuffles were reported in the northern city of Mexicali, where protesters blocked a Pemex supply depot.

“Daily life has almost been restore. This does not mean that social annoyance has been minimized, it would be irresponsible to say that there is no worry,” Juarez told Televisa.

According to the official, the government is also investigating the origin of social media campaigns instigating violence through lies and rumors.

For Juarez, the protests over the last week were a mixture of two issues: real expressions of citizen anguish and movements “with other interests, other motivations.”

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