A taxi burns in Altamirano, Chiapas, yesterday. A taxi burns in Altamirano, Chiapas, yesterday.

Feuding drivers burn 10 taxis, mototaxis in Chiapas

Dispute is between drivers of the three-wheeled variety and those with four wheels

If it’s not warring criminal gangs it’s warring taxi drivers. Day-to-day life in Altamirano, Chiapas, came to a halt yesterday as drivers of taxis and mototaxis clashed over the legality, or lack thereof, of their services, virtually holding the city hostage for hours.

The three-wheeler mototaxis began operating this month, but the drivers complain that they are not allowed to work and are constantly threatened by drivers of the established taxi service. In protest, several set fire to a taxi and sparked a day of violence, forcing schools to suspend classes and stores to shut their doors.

In response to the torching of the taxi, some 50 drivers of the conventional taxis hijacked four mototaxis and set them on fire in the municipal soccer field. Some time later they seized two more mototaxis and burned them too.

That, of course, triggered retaliation: mototaxi drivers set three more taxis on fire.

For a while the streets of Altamirano were the sole domain of roaming groups of men armed with sticks and stones, looking for more taxis or mototaxis to set alight.

The charred remains of a mototaxi.
The charred remains of a mototaxi.

At the end of the day, the tally was four taxis and six mototaxis completely destroyed. But no one was seriously injured. A handful of men required medical attention for minor injuries suffered during the hours-long dust-up.

The final tally could well have been worse, as one of the vehicles was set on fire near a gas station. A tragedy was averted thanks to the prompt response of the staff.

The state police had yet to show up as evening fell, so there were no arrests reported. Altamirano is located about 20 kilometers from Ocosingo.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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