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San Miguel's mayor speaks to one of the reporters yesterday. San Miguel's mayor speaks to one of the reporters yesterday.

‘Whose side are you on?’ San Miguel mayor reprimands reporters

The mayor accused journalists of supporting crime with their reporting

The mayor of San Miguel de Allende rebuked and allegedly assaulted two reporters who were covering a protest by police officers on Friday at the municipal government offices.

Reporters María Antonieta Herrera of the newspaper El Sol de Bajío and Ana Luz Solís of the digital news outlet News San Miguel were taking Facebook live video of a protest by local police after the deaths of two officers in a shooting last week.

The officers were demanding better training and up-to-date equipment, including guns and bulletproof vests, as well as a change in policing strategy that would focus more on group work.

As they were recording, Mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal García grabbed Herrera’s phone out of her hands and allegedly struck Solís twice on her back after accusing them of supporting crime through their reporting.

“It’s time for you to decide what side you’re on, the side of crime, or of security,” the mayor can be heard saying on Solís’ recording.

Villarreal said he was upset with the publication of a story by local media claiming the municipal government had forced the National Guard to leave the municipality, which the mayor called misleading.

“I don’t know where these ridiculous stories you publish come from, for example, that we kicked out the National Guard,” he said. “. . . What you’re doing is opening the door and doing favors for criminals. I’m saying this respectfully, but I have to say it because I can’t just let this go.”

Later, security officers at the municipal offices prevented the journalists from entering the building and ordered them to leave the area.

Herrera has filed a criminal complaint against Villarreal for the aggression.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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