Saturday, January 31, 2009

Street Vendors Fight Police

Some 600 street vendors in Coatepeque clashed again on Thursday with members of the PNC (National Police) who tried to evict them from the street. The incident occurred at 7:30 AM when about 25 officers began to remove the vendors. The vendors verbally assaulted police and then began fighting. A police officer fired his 12 gauge shotgun to persuade those who resisted.

The Red Cross and the Fire Department stationed personnel to handle injuries but fortunately no one was injured.

Mario Mendez, representative of the traders, claimed that police agents are armed and shooting at people. An agent of the National Civil Police (PNC), identified only by his surname Tunay Cross, collected spent shells and ordered retailers to return them because they are evidence of abuse by the police. In addition, an officer of PNC, Areli Estrada, said that he was unaware of any eviction process. The MP (Ministerio Publico) collected evidence at the scene and refused to indicate what the official report might say.

Students of local schools left campuses for fear that the situation will worsen.

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