Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Feeling in danger, taxi drivers block highway to Acapulco

A huge blockade staged by drivers of taxis, combis and other public transportation vehicles from the central areas of Guerrero halted four lanes of traffic Wednesday morning at a busy junction on the Autopista del Sol, the highway that connects Acapulco to the state capital of Chilpancingo.

The drivers were protesting the state government’s lack of diligence in providing proper security for taxi drivers and other drivers and transportation workers.

The action took place at the Parador del Marqués on the southern outskirts of Chilpancingo. Alternate routes between Guerrero’s two largest cities were also said to be blocked.

The protest drew at least 500 people, according to the newspaper Milenio, and perhaps upwards of 1,000, according to the newspaper El Sol de Acapulco

The drivers, who say they feel threatened and unsafe while working, were joined by relatives of disappeared and murdered transportation workers in the region. 

Their demands for better security stemmed from several recent incidents in which drivers were victims of violence, including the reported murder of transportation leader Francisco García Marroquín in Chilpancingo earlier this week. Drivers are also angered by the reported disappearance of carrier Francisco Imer. Imer and his vehicle disappeared without a trace a month ago. Another driver was rescued by police after criminals reportedly kidnapped and shot him.

The protest began taking shape between 7 and 8 a.m. on Wednesday, when drivers left their regular activities and gathered at El Parador del Marqués, using their vehicles to block traffic. Slogans on their vehicles included, “Governor, we do not want one more missing or dead taxi driver.” 

Elements of the Ministry of Public Security, many dressed in riot gear, showed up at the protest. According to one report, some of the protesters were “secured” by police. Other government personnel arrived and assured the protesters that the necessary measures were being carried out to guarantee their safety and demanded that the drivers stop blocking the highway because they were committing a crime. 

At the time, it was not ruled out that a police action would be necessary to restore traffic.

Around 1 p.m. the Guerrero Ministry of Government announced that one lane on each side of the highway had been opened after state Director of Transportation Arturo Salinas and Director of Government Francisco Rodríguez agreed to enter into dialogue with the protesters. But the highway remained largely blockaded throughout the day.

With reports from Milenio and El Sol de Acapulco

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