Acapulco gas stations close to protest violence

AP News
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Posted: Aug 19, 2011 5:54 PM
Acapulco gas stations close to protest violence

Nearly two dozen gas stations in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco shut down simultaneously for three hours Friday to protest growing drug cartel violence in the area.

Gas station owners said several of their security guards and attendants have been killed amid a spike in kidnappings, extortion and armed holdups in the last few months.

Drug violence has grown in Acapulco since the December 2009 killing of cartel boss Arturo Beltran Leyva, which set off fighting among factions of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

Mariano Gutierrez Otero, president of the local association of gas station owners, demanded Mexican President Felipe Calderon step up security in the area because of "the wave of violence consuming Acapulco."

Gutierrez Otero said requests to the local and federal government for added police presence have been denied. He said the 23 striking gas stations employ 2,000 people and warned that more closures could come. All 23 gas stations are franchises of Petroleos Mexicanos, the nation's state-owned oil company.

The stations closed from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, seven people were killed in what is thought to be a drug-related attacks near Acapulco.

Guerrero state authorities said two soldiers, both 20, were found dead from M-16 assault rifle fire. Police found 12 spent shell casings near the bodies.

In another incident, a 58-year-old former city councilman and two companions were ambushed by assaliants, with one of the companions, a 55-year-old man, killed, authorities said.

On Friday morning, three men were also found dead from gun shot wounds on the roof of their Acapulco house. Outside Acapulco, another man was found dead, having been shot in the head.