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Striking police in Michoacán. Striking police in Michoacán.

5,000 police strike in Michoacán calling for their boss’s head

3,000 officers remain on duty in the state, where violence has spiraled for over a year

Nearly two-thirds of Michoacán’s state and municipal police have gone on strike to press for the removal of the newly-appointed state security secretary and for improvements to working conditions.

About 5,000 officers from across the state walked off the job yesterday, leaving some 3,000 on duty “so as to not leave the public unprotected,” said their representative, Javier Sánchez Razo.

He claimed that Public Security Secretary José Martín Godoy Castro, who was appointed on April 1, has fired close to 200 police and replaced them with corrupt people from the state of México.

Godoy was previously the state’s attorney general.

The police are also demanding better equipment and weapons, life insurance and “respect for their work.”

The strike started with demonstrations on the streets of the capital, Morelia, and across the state.

Communal landowners in the Purépecha region showed their support for the cause by hijacking buses, setting them on fire and using them to set up a roadblock on the Paracho-Nahuatzen highway.

In response, Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo declared that if the police want to “participate in marches or protest camps they can go to the [dissident teachers’ union] CNTE or any other union or movement, but if they want to be police they have to behave in an orderly manner and be respectful.”

The teachers’ union has a well-earned reputation for disruptive protests and demonstrations.

The governor said the discontented police are few in number and “have not wanted to understand what’s going on.”

Aureoles refused to remove Godoy from his post, and asserted that his administration is always looking for better working conditions for all its police officers.

Some officers in Uruapan were among those who did not strike, responding instead to two attacks last night by armed civilians.

Three adults and a child were killed and eight people injured, six of them municipal police officers.

Violence has soared in the state as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel battles with Los Viagras over territory. Intentional homicides were up 10% in the first three months of this year at 329. Murders totaled 1,060 during all of last year.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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