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Protesting police in Mexico City yesterday. Protesting police in Mexico City yesterday.

Federal Police agree to talks, lift airport blockade after nine hours

They have been offered 10 alternatives to joining the National Guard

Federal Police officers protesting against their transfer into the National Guard lifted a road blockade outside the Mexico City airport late on Friday after agreeing to the government’s offer of dialogue.

A group of about 100 disgruntled police blocked the Circuito Interior freeway outside Terminal 1 of the airport for almost nine hours before ending the protest shortly after 9:00pm.

The officers agreed to hold talks with Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo about compensation they are seeking but threatened to renew their protest at the airport if they don’t see any progress on Saturday.

The decision to lift the blockade, which stranded motorists and caused some travelers to miss their flights, came after Durazo urged the officers to agree to dialogue.

“We call on these discontent police officers to continue dialogue so that together we can build a solution,” he said in a video posted to Facebook.

The security secretary reiterated that officers who don’t want to join the National Guard – the Federal Police is to be disbanded within 18 months – will have the opportunity to join one of 10 other government organizations such as the National Immigration Institute, the National Anti-Kidnapping Commission and the Mexican Refugee Assistance Commission.

Durazo also repeated that officers’ salaries won’t be cut and they won’t lose benefits or seniority no matter which organization they join.

“There are very wide and diverse options . . . It would be unthinkable . . . that among 10 options [officers] don’t find one that really satisfies them,” he said.

Durazo stressed that the protesting officers are only a “very small” group that is not representative of the Federal Police as a whole. Some officers described those who demonstrated on Friday as a “radical wing” of the security force.

Police first protested against their incorporation into the National Guard in July, arguing that if they refused to join the security force, they would be left jobless.

However, the government has maintained that no officer will be dismissed and that the decision to enter the National Guard, which was formally inaugurated on June 30, is voluntary.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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