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Mexico: Drug Cartel-Led Protest Paralyzes Monterrey Metropolitan Area

Last Wednesday, after the leader of drug trafficking band Los Zetas was captured, members of this drug cartel paralyzed the Monterrey Metropolitan Area with blockades in 20 different locations using their juvenile recruits who threatened bus drivers and civilians to leave their vehicles crossed through the streets.

CC-By bbriceno

CC-By bbriceno

As Borderland Beat mentions in their post:

In the avenues Miguel German and Las Americas up to a dozen public transport buses were taken at gunpoint and used for the blockages. This area was particularly affected as gang members armed with steel bars and guns threatened civilians and hijacked their vehicles en masse.

Many vehicles used in the blockages had their tires shot out or were otherwise damaged to make the task of removal more difficult.

The state and municipal police took very long to respond and the city was practically in a state of siege as people were stuck for hours waiting for the roads to be unblocked and other areas of the city were the grounds for gunfights.

Following is a citizen video where a driver recorded different blockades in the highway Fidel Suárez while the radio informed about the situation. You can see buses and cars blocking traffic in the opposite lane:

Star Wars fan Fermin Tellez had his heart set on seeing a Star Wars concert at the Monterrey Arena when the blockades started:

El nerviosismo se apoderaba de mi ser luego de conocer lo que sucedía en las calles regias, bloqueos por todos lados, la inseguridad era el tema de todos los regios. Tanto así que la palabra “bloqueos” llegó a ser número 4 en los Trend Topic a nivel mundial en twitter.com, es decir la palabra “bloqueos” era de las más utilizadas por los twitteros.

Nervousness trapped me after knowing what was happening in the streets of Monterrey, blockades everywhere, insecurity was the most discussed topic by people from Monterrey. So much that the word “bloqueos” (blockades in Spanish) reached number 3 in worldwide trending topics in Twitter.com, which meant that the word bloqueo was one of the most used by people on twitter.

Users such as zulygarza and CarlosLazoG also uploaded images of the blockades.

Blogger Gyp_sy also posted about the blockades as she recorded a video of the TV newscast:

Hoy vivimos otro día de violencia. Más de 20 bloqueos en las avenidas más importantes de la ciudad. Este video es solo un poquito de lo que vivimos en este país, donde según palabras de nuestro presidente, los delincuentes son “minoría”. Aquí se ve como esa MINORIA con armas en las manos y sin problema alguno, les quita los autos a las personas y tapan las calles todo esto… a OJOS de los policías quienes deciden huir del área de conflicto el lugar de enfrentar a “la minoría”.

Today we lived another day of violence. More than 20 blockades in the most important avenues of the city. This video shows only a bit of what we live in this country, where according to the words of our president, delinquents are a “minority”. Here you can see how this MINORITY with weapons in their hands and without any problems take vehicles from people and block streets, all of this… in front of the police's EYES who decide to flee the area of conflict instead of facing this “minority”.

Hazme el Chingado Favor also criticizes the police's inaction in posting a newspaper clipping with an image showing how the police wittness armed men stealing a car to block the streets but then they just turn around and leave.

Live free or die blog also had their bit to say about the blockages and the decorative police forces:

A mí realmente me parece insólito que en una ciudad como Monterrey y su área metropolitana, donde últimamente hemos visto que patrullas del Estado de Nuevo León y patrullas municipales se la pasan dando rondines todo el día y a toda hora, de buenas a primeras no se dan cuenta que de manera simultanea varios grupos delincuenciales toman control de la ciudad entera.

¡La tarde de ayer, la gran ciudad de Monterrey estuvo secuestrada!

For me it is inconceivable that a city like Monterrey and its metro area, where we have lately seen patrol cars from the Estado de Nuevo Leon and municipal patrol cars as well frequently doing their rounds all day long, suddently don't notice when different delinquent groups simultaneously take control of the whole city.

Yesterday, the great city of Monterrey was kidnapped!

Drug related blockades are not a new phenomenon in Monterrey: throughout the last year several have taken place in a movement that concerns citizens. Apparently those executing the blockades are unemployed teens who are ripe targets for the attentions of these drug rings who “hire” them, give them weapons and set them lose on the streets with their faces covered, popularly known as “los tapados” or the covered ones.

Paco from Urbi et Orbe tells of blockades last February:

Un taxista que estuvo en uno de los primeros bloqueos me contó algunos pormenores: robo o destrucción de teléfonos celulares, consumo de drogas y alcohol, insultos, amenazas y golpes contra conductores…

Lo que no tuvo que contarme el taxista fue la actitud pasiva, insegura, de las fuerzas policiacas. Eso fue evidente durante varios días. Sin embargo, el Secretario de Seguridad estatal se quejaba; pedía que los ciudadanos y los medios de comunicación identificaran a “los malos”, que no eran los policías sino el crimen organizado. El propio Gobernador aseguró que tras los “tapados de Monterrey” están el Cártel del Golfo y su brazo armado, los “Zetas”.

A taxi driver who was in one of the first blockages told me some of the details: robbery or destruction of cellphones, drug and alcohol use, insutls, threats and battery against drivers…

What the taxi driver didn't have to tell me was the passive and insecure attitude of the police forces. That was evident for several days. Nevertheless, the Secretary for State Security complained; he asked for citizens and media to recognize that the evil ones weren't the police forces but the organized crime. The Governor himself declared that behind the “covered ones of Monterrey” are the Gulf Cartel and its Armed Arm, the “Zetas”.

Next is another citizen video showing the Narc-blockades back in March:

In one of the video's comments we can read about a first-hand account of a blockade:

A mi me toco un bloqueo a la miguel aleman,cuando iba para el aeropuerto y vi que de 3 taxis se bajaron como 12 tipos estilo cholos,que se le fueron alos camiones y los atravezaron,y todo lo hicieron en menos de 5 minutos y a la vista de una granadera de apodaca,despues huyeron en los taxis rumbo a la carr. huinala,ojala ya los paren a estos cabrones lacras

I experienced a blockade in Miguel Aleman avenue when I was heading for the airport and I saw that from 3 taxis 12 “cholo” type guys got out and went against the buses and then used them to block, and all this they did in less than 5 minutes and in plain sight of a Police Van, after they fled in their taxis to Huinala, I hope these no-good jerks are stopped.
Thanks to Issa Villareal who contributed to this article.

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