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Rioting, Looting, Gunfire In Mexico Over Gas Prices (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Rioting, looting and gunfire continue to break out in Mexico as people protest high gas prices (video below).

According to AFP, five cops and eight civilians were injured on Jan. 5 due to violence in the city of Ixmiquilpan. Authorities said that protesters tossed rocks and fireworks at police.

The Hidalgo state public security department (Ixmiquilpan) said in a statement: "To deter the disturbances, the officers used tear gas, but the protesters did not withdraw and continued their aggressions, (and) gunfire was heard at the scene."

The protesters were originally sparked by the government raising gas prices by 20.1 percent on New Year's Day. The government is planning to stop its fuel subsidies in March.

Business leaders believe that over 1,000 stores have been vandalized so far, while police have arrested more than 600 people.

One police officer was killed in Mexico City on Jan. 4 while trying to stop a gas station theft.

President Enrique Pena Nieto defended the gas price hike during an address to the country on Jan. 5, notes The Associated Press:

I know that allowing gasoline to rise to its international price is a difficult change, but as president, my job is to precisely make difficult decisions now, in order to avoid worse consequences in the future. Keeping gas prices artificially low would mean taking money away from the poorest Mexicans, and giving it to those who have the most.

Pena Nieto also mentioned that he wanted to "build a positive relationship with the new U.S. administration" with Mexico's "unbreakable dignity."

Meanwhile, thousands of people protested in Monterrey, where some masked protesters launched fireworks at a state government building and broke windows, reports AFP.

However, about 100 people peacefully marched in Mexico City.

"I have grandchildren and I would be ashamed to know that I did nothing," said Emma Cabrera Albarran, a shopkeeper at the protest, said.

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