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Gunfire breaks out at protest in Mexican resort of Cancun

November 10, 2020 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Gunfire erupted Monday when protesters tried to force their way into city hall in the Mexican resort of Cancun, and a journalism group said two reporters were wounded.

The demonstrators were protesting the recent killings of women in Quintana Roo, the Caribbean coast state where Cancun is located.

The march was called after prosecutors announced earlier in the day that the body of a 20-year-old woman had been found in Cancun about two days after she went missing. The state has seen a dozen killings of women so far this year. Gov. Carlos Joaquin had met with women’s groups earlier Monday to promise no efforts would be spared in investigating the most recent killing.

A video posted by the Quintana Roo Network of Journalists showed a throng of about 100 protesters at city hall during the Monday evening protest, some of whom were tearing down a plywood barrier at an entrance. A few shots are heard on the video, people begin running, and then bursts of gunfire are heard.

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The newspaper Por Esto posted a photo of a police officer waving a pistol in the air. National Guard agents appeared to have taken up positions around city hall after the shooting.

While it was unclear who fired the shots, an angry tweet by Gov. Joaquin appeared to suggest he blamed police.

“I completely reject any intimidation or attack against protesters,” Joaquin wrote. “I gave orders that there be no attacks and no guns at the marches scheduled for today. I will investigate the irresponsible person who gave orders that contradicted that.”

State Police chief Alberto Capella did not confirm that there were injuries or that police opened fire, but wrote in his Twitter account that the incident “is in every sense unacceptable” and promised a police internal affairs investigation.

Cancun Mayor Mara Lezama wrote in her Twitter account: “We reject all acts of violence. As mayor, I will never order repression against city residents. I have given orders to carry out the necessary investigations.”