Lootings and protests erupt as Mexican government raises gasoline prices

World Today

Mexico Gasoline Shock A woman holds a stick as she and other neighbors try to prevent looting in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Thursday Jan. 5, 2017. Anger over gasoline prices hikes in Mexico fueled more protests and looting Thursday, and officials said the unrest had resulted in the deaths of several people and the arrests of hundreds.(AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

This new year has gotten off to a rough start for Mexico.

The government raised prices for gasoline by 20 percent, which is raising inflation. The reaction from many Mexicans has been outrage.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.

Lootings and protests erupt as Mexican government raises gasoline prices

Lootings and protests erupt as Mexican government raises gasoline prices

This new year has gotten off to a rough start for Mexico. The government raised prices for gasoline by 20 percent, which is raising inflation. The reaction from many Mexicans has been outrage. CGTN's Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.

Sporadic looting in stores across Mexico.

Violence, vandalism, robbery – all of this is generated by the government, said Farina Cano, a demonstrator. That is why we, the citizens, are holding all these marches, all these demonstrations.

Mexico’s deputy minister Rene Juarez announced hundreds were arrested for vandalism and federal authorities are working with security officials in the region to address the unrest.

Local and state government official say some of the lootings is being organized on social media. Government officials are launching investigations in Mexico City.

As the protests flared up, security tightened at the official residence of Mexico’s President.

In a pre-recorded message to the nation, President Enrique Peña Nieto explained his decision to raise gasoline prices.

Last year, all across the world, the price of petroleum rose nearly 60 percent. That has led to an international increase in gasoline prices, which affects us directly. Because for years, Mexico has been importing half of the fuels that we use, said President Nieto.

But one day after the President’s message to the nation, protestors are still blocking refineries. That has led to gasoline shortages in some parts of Mexico.

Protestors have also been blocking important highways, impeding the transportation of merchandise.

Mexico’s President says he faced two choices – either cutting anti-poverty programs or raising gasoline prices.

Some Mexicans are flatly rejecting the President’s request for understanding. And on social media, more protests are being organized.