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10 officers dismissed after violent Mahahual land eviction

Mahahual, Q.R. — The eviction of several dozen families from a Mahahual property turned violent Wednesday. Police used tear gas to disperse the families during the judicial eviction that resulted in several injuries and two police units being pushed over and burned.

The angry squatters began setting fires while they created a road block. The unrest had State Secretary Cristina Torres at the location to talk with the residents and lift the roadblock.

Torres explained to the illegal residents of La Victoria that they were occupying state property that is not regularized for private land ownership.

“We are going to review and are going to ask for legal regularization,” Torres told the group Wednesday. “The State Government is going to serve as an intermediary, but at the national level. We are going to get there, but in an orderly manner, by name of neighborhood and how many inhabitants there are,” Torres added.

Police were sent to the property Wednesday at the request of the Special Prosecutor for Patrimonial Crimes to evict those who had been squatting on the land. The illegal residents reacted to the mass eviction at which point tear gas was used.

Late Wednesday, a press conference was held by José de la Peña Ruiz de Chávez, the Coordinator of the State Security and Justice Cabinet, who explained that 10 members of the police involved in the Mahahual eviction have been separated from their positions.

He said that “there were no firearms used during the violent acts in Mahahual,” clarifying some local media reports that said otherwise. He also explained that 10 elements of the Secretary of Public Security, who participated in the acts of violence registered in Mahahual, were separated from their respective positions.

He said that patrol units were sent to the scene to help with the eviction, but later outsiders arrived who became involved and began acts of violence against the judicial personnel who were working at the scene.

“There were violent situations, provoked situations and the Security Corporation had to follow precise instructions, which was not to fall into provocations, act under protocols. Now they have been instructed to immediately discharge 10 elements so that investigations can be carried out into whether they committed abuses of the use of force in the exercise of their functions,” he explained during the press conference in Cancun.

He also said that the participation of the State Human Rights Commission had been requested the day before so that it would attest to the evidence and actions that would be carried out, however, they did not arrive at the Mahahual location.

He reiterated that at no time did police use bullets, but rather salt practice rounds, special cartridges for this type of operation. He also reiterated that the case will be analyzed to determine whether or not there was excessive use of force.