MEXICO CITY – Thousands of Mexicans on Saturday marched peacefully in a number of cities to express their rejection of the government’s price hike on gasoline a week after the measure was put in place, sparking hundreds of disturbances, including looting and arrests, around the country.
“At the end of the day, the rise in fuel prices impacts everything because everything rises (in price). Those who have cars, those who take public transportation and those who have to buy their basic goods, because all items are rising along with gasoline, and these are very harsh blows,” Laura Villa, who was protesting in Mexico City, told EFE.
Along with Villa, a housewife who attended the protest with her children, several thousand other people gathered on Saturday in the capital to express their opposition to the government decision to raise fuel prices starting Jan. 1 by between 14-20 percent, a hike that precedes a liberalization of prices in the sector that will take place gradually during 2017.
“In other countries, gasoline isn’t so expensive, and we are an oil-producing country, with reserves,” lamented Chimalma, another demonstrator at the capital protest, which was not sponsored by any large organizations and which had as its most visible face that of activist priest Alejandro Solalinde.
Besides Mexico City, peaceful demonstrations were held in at least six other states, including Mexico, Chiapas, Jalisco, Puebla, Guerrero and Nuevo Leon.
In Guadalajara, capital of the western state of Jalisco, a huge march with at least 5,000 participants took place, according to figures provided to EFE by Civil Protection authorities.
Protests were also staged in Monterrey, Toluca, Acapulco and Tapachula, and in the latter two cities several businesses closed their doors for security reasons, according to local media.
Up until Friday evening, according to official figures, the disturbances linked to the protests over the fuel price hikes had resulted in six deaths and more than 1,500 arrests.
In addition, some 420 businesses were looted, according to figures compiled by the Antad national self-service and department stores association.