Protesters block international bridgesPosted: Updated:
It started on a bridge linking Laredo-Nuevo Laredo, spread to the McAllen-Reynosa area and ended in El Paso-Juarez. The protestors waved hand-made signs and shouted "soldiers get out!" But is this what it seems? A real backlash or an effort to sway public opinion against a government crackdown on drug traffickers?
Mexican officials have said drug cartels pay protestors to stage demonstration to turn public opinion against the miitary. Human rights organizations confirm complaints about military abuses are real but did not immediately know who had organized the bridge protests.
In El Paso many demonstrators were women and small children. In Laredo some men wore masks. And in Reynosa the protest was overshadowed by a gun battle between soldiers and drug trafficking commandos in the streets that left 10 dead.
20 more were injured in the firefight that involved automatic weapons and grenades, according to some local media reports.
The biggest complaint I've heard up and down the border at this point is not about the military presence but the bloodshed and escalating violence that continues even as thousands of troops patrol Mexican border cities.
It's clear from the clashes between the military and drug trafficking commandos in Chihuahua and now Tamaulipas -- THE WAR NEXT DOOR rages on.