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Truckers block Mexican highways to protest violent robberies

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Truckers staged protests on busy highways outside of Mexico City on Thursday to protest the wave of killings of drivers during highway robberies.

Trucks either drove very slowly or blocked some lanes of traffic. The protest was organized by the Mexican Alliance of Drivers’ Organizations, known by its initials as Amotac, which is demanding the government step up highway patrols.

“The highways of Mexico are stained with blood,” read a banner attached to one truck.

Thieves have long hijacked trucks on highways in central Mexico, but generally abandoned the drivers and their trucks after stealing the merchandise they were carrying. But now, industry groups say, the gangs often kill drivers and take the trucks to lots where they are stripped and sold for parts.

The Interior Department issued a statement Thursday saying talks with other truck drivers’ groups had led to agreements for more patrol cars.

But it claimed the Amotac protests were “unjustified and baseless, given that there are negotiations to address the problems they have raised.”

The group is also demanding increased inspections or bans on some types of double-semi trailers, which they say are dangerous, and an end to some types of charges, fees or tolls.

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