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Guadalajara police and street vendors in violent confrontation

September 26, 2013

Six street vendors were detained and later released on Wednesday following violent clashes with the police in downtown Guadalajara.

At least 40 street sellers, the majority of them indigenous artisans, had been protesting in the Plaza Tapatia, from which they were evicted by the municipal government last month. Instead of laying out their produce on the ground, they unveiled banners manifesting their right to work in the area.

At around 1:15 p.m., police intervened against a man they accused of trying to sell his produce in the square. This sparked a wider confrontation between the police officers and the vendors, three of whom were arrested.

The protesters then blocked the crossing at Avenida 16 de Septiembre and Hidalgo, shouting slogans against Guadalajara Mayor Ramirez Hernandez, before being forcefully dispersed by more police officers who had arrived on the scene. The demonstrators’ two spokespeople, Monserrat Martin and Sonia Ferrara, were detained, along with a young cyclist who had simply stopped to watch the incident.

The six detainees were taken to the municipal police station on the Calzada Independencia and were eventually released at around 7 p.m. Clemente Castañeda, local deputy from the leftist Citizen’s Movement, who acted as a mediator during proceedings, called on the municipal government to “give them a place of work, as they deserve, so that they can work lawfully in good conditions.”

Castañeda said that the detainees were released in good health, apart from one indigenous man who had suffered a blow to the head. A 12-year-old boy had also suffered an ankle injury during the affray, while the vendors said at least two others had also been hurt.

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