“Anonymous” for Borderland Beat
|The officers are accused of intimidating residents to vote for the National Action Party in upcoming elections|
Municipal police were disarmed Monday in Playa Vicente, Veracruz, where state police took charge. The 43 officers, including their chief, have been sent to Xalapa, the state capital, for evaluations after accusations surfaced of voter intimidation related to the June 6 elections.
The force was taken by surprise by an air and land operation conducted by the army, the National Guard and state police.
Protests erupted last week in the community of Nuevo Ixcatlán against the Mayor Gabriel López Álvarez and trustee Yamilet López López. The protesters accused them of driving around the community in civilian vehicles to intimidate residents and attempt to force them to vote for the incumbent National Action Party (PAN).
Mayor Álvarez said he disagreed with the officers being disarmed.
“They have been treated as if they were criminals, there will be people who, given the scenario and the [electoral] process, will gain some pleasure from this. However, this is not only an affront to the municipal police and the mayor, but also to the institution of municipal government and citizens,” he said.
“I want to ask the state government, the federal government and the minister of public security to carefully review the truth of the situation in Playa Vicente. Those of us who live here know who are the good people and who are the harmful ones. Today, it seems that those who are harmful to society are being heard more. I hope that our officers will be back this week,” he added.
Playa Vicente has been the scene of violent events in recent years such as multi-homicides, disappearances and the discovery of clandestine graves and the upcoming elections are being hotly contested.
This year state police have intervened in seven municipal police forces in Veracruz, taking full control of four.
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