Mexican authorities remove protesters from toll booths in Nayarit after 8 months

Taking over highway toll booths is one of the odder and more lucrative ways to protest

Mexican authorities remove protesters from toll booths in Nayarit after 8 months
Protesters often take over toll booths for a few hours and charge motorists a fixed rate - Photo: Crisanta Espinosa Aguilar/CUARTOSCURO.COM
English 28/09/2020 12:30 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City AP Actualizada 12:30

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For the last eight months, a group of protesters controlled several highway toll booths in Nayarit. On Sunday, the National Guard finally removed the protesters from the toll booths after tens of millions of dollars in lost revenues over nearly 250 days.

Later, the National Guard said nobody was injured during the operation.

Of all the forms of protest in Mexico, taking over highway toll booths is one of the odder and more lucrative.

Protesters often take over the booths for a few hours and charge motorists a fixed rate, lower than the original toll, to pass. They keep the money for their “cause.”

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Some of the protesters in Nayarit were farmers demanding more compensation for highways built across their lands, but others appeared to have little connection to any social movement.

Local media quoted the toll highways operators association as saying lost revenues in Nayarit amounted to as much as USD 100 million. Even if the protesters charged slightly less than official tolls, quite a bit of money went into somebody’s pockets.

Protests in Mexico often take strange forms; students at rural teachers’ colleges routinely highjack passenger buses in southern Mexico, kick the passengers off and keep the buses and their drivers at their service for months. They have sometimes kidnapped fuel delivery trucks to fuel the buses, and food delivery trucks for food.

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Protesters in Mexico seize a wide array of facilities, taking over dams, bridges, police stations, town halls and have sometimes even taking army patrols captive until their demands are met.

A few weeks ago, farmers in Chihuahua seized the La Boquilla dam because they disagree with a water treaty signed between Mexico and the U.S. decades ago. The National Guard clashed with protesters.

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