Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Armed confrontation kills 8 at Hidalgo cement plant

Eight people were killed in an armed confrontation over control of a Hidalgo cement plant early Wednesday, state authorities said.

Governor Omar Fayad announced the deaths at the Cruz Azul cement plant in Tula on Twitter and condemned the violence. He also said that 11 people were injured and nine people were arrested. The former number was later revised to 12.

The Hidalgo Security Ministry (SSP) said in a statement that reports to the 911 emergency number alerted authorities to clashes between two groups of people at one of the entrances to the plant owned by Cruz Azul, which is also the proprietor of the Cruz Azul professional soccer club.

The violence reportedly occurred before 5:00 a.m. Wednesday when one group – made up of as many as 200 people – tried to take control of the plant, which is located about 90 kilometers north of Mexico City.

The SSP said that police, Civil Protection personnel and medical personnel responded to the clash. The aggressors also set several vehicles on fire and cut the cement plant’s electricity supply, the newspaper Reforma reported.

The Associated Press reported that the clash came after at least a decade of angry, sometimes violent disputes within the Cruz Azul employees’ cooperative. Local media reports said the confrontation was related to a long-running leadership dispute.

There are two rival groups, one led by Federico Sarabia and another led by José Antonio Marín.

Hidalgo Attorney General Alejandro Habib said there are over 30 investigations into different crimes related to the conflict between the two groups. He also said lawsuits related to the management of the cooperative have been filed in Mexico City and other entities.

The Cruz Azul cooperative condemned the violence and said it had taken legal action Sarabia and those who “to this day” have hijacked control of the plant. The group led by Sarabia has allowed access to groups of outside vandals that have attacked workers and placed them at risk, it said.

With reports from Reforma, Milenio and Associated Press

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