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Protesters block US-Mexico border crossings

The 3,000-kilometer (1865-mile) Mexico-US border is the busiest in the world, with 350 million crossings each year.
by Staff Writers
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico (AFP) Feb 17, 2009
Five hundred demonstrators blocked bridges between Mexico and the United States on Tuesday, to protest the presence of Mexico's armed forces in the area.

A total of six bridges were blocked, according to officials.

Ernesto Hernandez, administrator of the Juarez-Lincoln bridge between Nuevo Laredo and Laredo, Texas said a total of six bridges, including his, were blocked.

"It is a very difficult situation, because we are talking about an international bridge it has many economic consequences, to the detriment of both communities," he said.

Thousands of soldiers have been deployed to various areas in northern Mexico as police forces struggle to combat well-armed drug cartels.

The spiraling drug cartel-related violence saw some 5,300 people murdered throughout Mexico in 2008, according to official figures, despite a government crackdown that saw the deployment of nearly 36,000 troops.

Officials said drug cartels are behind the demonstrations.

Protesters near the Juarez-Lincoln bridge carried placards calling for "Soldiers out" and "Stop abuse by the PFP (Federal Preventative Police)".

The 3,000-kilometer (1865-mile) Mexico-US border is the busiest in the world, with 350 million crossings each year.

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