The weekend began at an August pace: twelve murders yesterday in Juarez. One of them occurred at the intersection of Ave. de las Americas and 16 de Septiembre, where the Shangri-la and Los Arcos restaurants are located. There, a man was murdered by gunfire at close range inside a bus, in an incident that also wounded a pregnant woman and the bus driver.
Fiesta Inn Flap: This past week saw an only-in-Juarez controversy unfold over the presence of federal police agents at the Fiesta Inn Hotel on 16 de Septiembre. The hotel is located just a couple of blocks from the Los Arcos restaurant, in front of the Lucerna hotel, next to the Women's Hospital, and right next to the large installations of Diario de Juarez, the flagship paper for Juarez. Several dozen federal police officers were housed there (they come to Juarez for relatively short rotations and tend to stay in hotels for security reasons) until Thursday.
On Tuesday evening at about 7 p.m. there was an exchange of gunfire that lasted about 12 minutes when men in a Cherokee Jeep began shooting at civilian automobiles carrying a federal police intelligence unit, right in front of the Fiesta Inn hotel. When it was over 5 agents were wounded, federal police agents had beaten a Diario photographer trying to get pictures of the incident, people at the Women's Hospital were slowly getting up after hitting the floor at the sound of gunfire, and there was generalized panic throughout the entire Pronaf quarter, one of the busiest areas in the city.
The next day Diario editorialized that the agents should leave the hotel, as a safety precaution for this highly commercial section of town. The agents left on Thursday. As they were leaving there was a demonstration against Diario by hotel employees, who complained they would be out of a job now that the federal agents were leaving. Federal police spokesman José Ramón Salinas explained that the police were leaving "because of the high cost" of the room charges.
Protest: A group of about 60 persons marched down Ave. Manuel J. Clouthier (Jilotepec) in what they said was "a march against death," protesting the violence in Juarez and specifically the deaths of Josefina and Rubén Reyes, city council woman from Guadalupe (in the Valle de Juarez) last January in front of a restaurant, and her brother, on Wednesday. The march had a decidedly anti-government element in it, as marchers chanted “Juárez no es cuartel, fuera ejército de él” (Juarez is not a barracks, troops out of of town) and “federal, policía: la misma porquería” (federal police or local police; the same stinking mess). The march was apparently organized by several groups, including the Latin American Federation of Associations of Disappeared Family Members, and the Movement for Culture and Plural Citizen Front.
Compiled from stories in Diario.