Mexicans have been protesting for more than a week against a staggering 20% petrol price increase caused by the end of government subsidies.
Thousands took to the streets of Mexico City yesterday (9 January), with traffic grinding to a halt, in the latest demonstration of the protests against the fuel gas price, known as gasolinazo in Spanish.
President Enrique Pena Nieto addressed the nation yesterday, calling for calm. He explained that the hike, which came into force on New Year's Day, was a "difficult and unpopular but necessary decision" dictated by an increase in global oil prices. Keeping the subsidy, he said, would have threatened the country's economy.
He also brought together labour and business leaders to discuss ways to alleviate the impact of the price increase on Mexican families. Protesters have been calling for Pena Nieto's resignation under the slogan "Pena Out" (Fuera Pena in Spanish). During the protests in Mexico City, they burnt effigies of him and US President-elect Donald Trump in the capital's main square.
Six people have died so far in clashes that erupted with the police trying to break blockages set up by the demonstrators across the country. Some 1,500 people were detained during the looting of hundreds of shops last week, which has now largely subsided, according to the BBC.
On Sunday, the authorities spent three hours battling demonstrators in Nogales, a city in the Sonora state bordering Arizona, who were blocking a rail crossing, the Associated Press reported.
According to the government, 11 trainloads of merchandise heading to the US were stalled by the protests, which also threatened to temporarily close down a Ford Motor plant in the state. Two police officers were injured and two demonstrators were arrested following the confrontation, in which the police fired rubber bullets at rock-throwing demonstrators.