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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on June 21 at 18:49 PM

…and underage drinking in Mexico City.

Panicked youths rushed for the exits during a police raid on a Mexico City nightclub on Friday, leaving at least 12 people dead in the crush of bodies, the capital’s police chief said.

Chief Joel Ortega said three police officers and nine youths, at least three of them minors, were killed. At least 13 others were injured.

Police went to the News Divine club in the working-class district of Nueva Atzacoalco in the early evening to check reports of drugs and alcohol being sold to minors. Ortega told the Televisa network the club’s owner announced to the crowd that the officers were there to arrest them, causing a stampede.

Police may blame the club owner, but the mayor is blaming police:

Mexico City’s mayor expressed outrage Saturday that youths as young as 13 were among the dozen people killed in a nightclub stampede and said the officials involved in the police raid that sparked the crush had been suspended.

“The city is indignant,” Mayor Marcelo Ebrard told a news conference. “What we saw yesterday was ethically unacceptable.”

Juan Carlos Maya, a club employee and the brother of owner Alfredo Maya, acknowledged that alcohol was being served but said patrons were asked for identification at the bar…. [H]e showed the club’s liquor license and an inspection certificate from 2007 and said police blocked the emergency exit, apparently to prevent suspects from escaping.

Video is over here.

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The stories in the Mex City press feature interviews with kids who claim that tear gas was fired into the club and that the exits were blocked by police who were beating thouse who ran out.
This is playing out in the press as a rich-Mexico-city-establishment finds an excuse to harass, beat, and murder poor working class kids.
You can see that in the response from the Mayor, who was apologetic, but said that the Madero delegacion (i.e. those stupid poor people) were at fault for not policing themselves better (and thus warranting a beating from the rich folks who needed to send a message).

Posted by kinaidos | June 21, 2008 9:23 PM

Police here are IDIOTS!

These people were not poor people. They were working class which means their parents are teachers, doctors, lawyers etc...

Who knows why the police showed up at that club but I guarantee you it was not because they were serving minors. There was another reason and now 12 people are dead.

Posted by mj | June 21, 2008 10:27 PM

I'm flummoxed by anyone in Mexico trying to curb underage drinking. I don't know about Mexico specifically, but it seems like most other countries have much more sensible attitudes about alcohol.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 21, 2008 10:36 PM

2, protection money not forthcoming on time, maybe?

Posted by ellarosa | June 22, 2008 1:21 AM

Probably some concerned parent tipped off the cops. I wonder how long the anonymous tipper will feel ashamed of himself/herself?

Posted by robot2501 | June 22, 2008 2:10 AM

@2 Mexico City isn't really known for its huge healthy middle class. I've been living here for the last five weeks, and its very clear that there's a very rich class, a much poorer working class and then people with hardly any resources at all.

I can see how this is playing out as a class thing.

Posted by Kim in California, currently working in Mexico City | June 22, 2008 9:57 AM

Even in the U.S. "teachers, doctors, lawyers etc" are not considered working class professions.

Posted by Jerod | June 22, 2008 12:23 PM

@2 Maybe, but probably the owner was getting in the way of something or someone.
It was probably a whole lot about the owner and a little bit about serving minors.

@7 the sad thing is that here in Mexico even doctors and lawyers make a minimal living. They do Ok by our standards here in Mexico but by State Side standards it would
probably be pretty poor. There is a strong middle class up and coming here but when they said kids were trampled in a club I knew they were not poor kids because poor kids are on the street not in clubs.

@6 Mexico can be confusing as far as their class system goes to Americans. A lot of the poor working class you see is the middle class. They would never call themselves poor and it would be offensive to them to read American news calling them poor.
Poor people are the people you see washing windows in the street and asking for money and food at your door step.

Posted by mj | June 22, 2008 1:13 PM

Ive been to those clubs in D.F. and they are fucking PACKED, like nothing you can imagine or have ever seen here. I felt like I was going to be stampeded to death when shit was normal, this isnt surprising...Tear gas doesnt help...

Posted by n.g.t.m.c.w.t.r. | June 22, 2008 3:56 PM

Everybody involved in this comes off sounding pretty bad.

Posted by Greg | June 23, 2008 8:31 AM

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