Skip to Content

Police Protestors Block Main Artery for Hours

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 19 July, 2011

(Acapulco, JG 19 July) Yesterday elements of the municipal police, the traffic police and the tourist police blocked the Avenida Cuauhtémoc for over eight hours, in front of the city’s offices in Parque Papagayo. They were upset by a sudden change in work schedules, that makes them take 24 hour shifts. The blockade started at 9:00 am. The protesters claimed that the Mexican constitution defines a work day as being eight hours long, and that the 24-hour shift is abusive. Additionally, it was imposed without prior notice.

Around 10:00 am leaders of the protest were able to have a meeting with the director of public safety. The spokeswoman for the protestors, Lidia Cortés González, said, “All we want is for the city to respect normal working hours. This may mean that many of those with badges get up from their desks and help us out in the streets.” Others added that it is psychologically impossible for a policeman to function well for 24 hours straight. Other complaints were also raised in the meeting, such as the lack of life insurance and the lack of pension arrangements for many. They reminded the city that Mayor López Rosas (now state attorney general) had reduced the work day from 24 hours to 8 several years ago. He had noted that many officers had to take drugs or medications to be able to sustain the long work day.

Mayor Añorve Baños said the protest was illegal, and that instigators would be criminally punished. He added that 24 hour shifts are common throughout Mexico and that it is a federal government regulation. He said that he will arrange for the construction of dormitories, baths and a gym in the main police building for the officers, but the 24 hour shift will stay in place. He said, “These are not easy decisions, but we have to take them for the public safety. We are the only municipality in the State of Guerrero, and I think, in the whole country, that has an eight-hour work day.” The accuracy of that claim could not be confirmed.

After the failed negotiations, the protesting police continued to block Avenida Cuauhtémoc for several more hours. When the director of the traffic police tried to force open the blockade for one of his patrol cars, he was chased away with angry threats.