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The scene last night at the Mexico City-Pyramids toll booths. The scene Thursday night at the Mexico City-Pyramids toll booths.

2 wounded as violence breaks out during occupation of toll plaza

Two groups were illegally collecting tolls when the shooting began

Two people were shot on Thursday night during a violent clash over control of a toll plaza in México state.

Members of a group called Pacific Civil Resistance as well as students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers college – the school attended by the 43 students abducted in Guerrero in 2014 – were illegally collecting tolls from motorists at the toll plaza on the Mexico City-Teotihuacán Pyramids highway when men arrived in pickup trucks and began attacking them with sticks and pipes.

The aggressors also damaged vehicles at the toll plaza including a bus in which the Ayotzinapa students traveled to México state from Guerrero.

According to police reports, several gunshots were heard shortly after the aggressors began their attack. The newspaper El Universal said that both the toll plaza occupiers and the men who arrived apparently opened fire.

One man fell to the road after he was shot but managed to get back on his feet and get into a vehicle that transported him to a local hospital, the newspaper Milenio reported. Another man was shot in the leg and received assistance from municipal police before being taken to the hospital.

The identity of the two wounded men wasn’t reported and it was unclear what side they were on. The identity of the aggressors and the group they belong to is also unknown. Both the toll plaza occupiers and the aggressors fled the toll plaza after the confrontation.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the number of people taking over toll plazas in the Valley of México metropolitan area and illegally collecting “voluntary contributions” from motorists has increased.

El Universal reported earlier this week that toll plazas in México state are regularly occupied by groups of unemployed people looking for a way to get by at a time when jobs are scarce due to the pandemic.

The hijacking of toll plazas, mainly by people protesting for different reasons, is also a problem in many other states. At least 18 toll plazas across the country were occupied on Monday just one day after the National Guard cleared eight in Nayarit.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp) 

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