Municipal police in Alvarado, Veracruz, whose weapons were taken from them by order of the state government, have been rearmed — with slingshots.
State police relieved their municipal counterparts of their guns and their duties on Friday on the grounds that they were not properly accredited police officers. Thirty officers, including the chief, were affected.
The state government also intervened in a similar manner in the municipalities of Ixtaczoquitlán, Ciudad Mendoza and Pueblo Viejo.
Claiming that the move was political, Alvarado Mayor Bogar Ruiz Rosas responded by handing out slingshots and stones to the unarmed police officers and advising them that their most powerful weapon was their vote.
Ruiz found it “strange” that the municipality’s autonomy was violated just one week before the elections.
“It’s clear to us that this is a totally political issue and we have to be prepared to carry out our work, professionally, as you have seen us do it,” he wrote on Facebook.
Governor Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares responded by stating that Alvarado’s municipal police are no longer permitted to participate in law enforcement operations, and that if they do they would be violating regulations and would be tried for it.
Yunes is affiliated with the National Action Party, while Mayor Ruiz was elected under a coalition between the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party and its long-time ally, the Ecological Green Party.