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Residents steal gasoline and diesel from a gas station in Veracuz State - Photo: AP

Mexican president defends gas price hike

04/01/2017
17:37
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Protesters have blockaded highways and gas stations across Mexico

Mexico's president is strongly defending his unpopular move to hike gasoline prices 20 percent as highway blockades and protests continue across the country.

President Enrique Peña Nieto says he will try to help groups hit hard by the increases, an apparent reference to bus, truck and taxi drivers. The increases went into effect over the weekend.

Peña Nieto said Wednesday that "I understand the anger and irritation felt by the general public."

He says "this is an action that nobody would want to take," but adds: "If this decision had not been taken, the effects and consequences would have been far more painful."

The government is ending regulated prices for gasoline and diesel, which it says unduly benefited wealthier Mexicans.

Protesters have blockaded highways and gas stations across Mexico.

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