Coca-Cola Offices in Mexico Attacked by Protesters with Gasoline Bombs
Mexico City: Ten people were injured in southern Mexico after an attempt to attack the Coca-Cola company’s offices in the southern state of Guerrero.
The violence occurred in the state capital of Chilpancingo late on Wednesday.
The Guerrero state government said protesters tried to attack the Coke offices “to damage the facilities”.
It said the demonstrators, including teachers’ college students and unionized teachers, threw gasoline bombs, and a state police officer was burned.
Three other policemen were injured, along with two reporters and four protesters.
The demonstrators briefly took two company employees hostage. The Coca Cola Femsa company Mexico’s largest Coke bottler confirmed that, saying in a statement that “fortunately, our employees are well”.
The company did not say under what conditions the employees were released.
Local media reported the two employees were exchanged for protesters arrested earlier for taking Coke products from hijacked delivery trucks.
Coca-Cola delivery trucks have been hijacked and merchandise stolen by demonstrators protesting the 26 September disappearance of 43 teachers-college students. Local police reportedly detained the students in the nearby city of Iguala, then turned them over to a drug gang that apparently killed them and incinerated their remains.
Local media reported the company had filed a complaint about the thefts resulting in the arrest of some protesters.
Coca-Cola Femsa would not confirm that, but said: “we are currently evaluating the viability of our operations, with the primary consideration being the safety of our personnel.”
It’s not the first time Coca-Cola has been attacked in Mexico, or reduced operations in dangerous areas.
In August, the company closed a distribution plant in Arceliao, Guerrero after receiving threats before attackers burned four delivery trucks in an area known for gang battles, the company said. Coca-Cola Femsa did not specify the nature of the threats, but said they were directed at delivery personnel.
In 2012, the Knights Templar cartel in neighboring Michoacan state burned five warehouses and dozens of vehicles owned by Sabritas snack company, a Mexican subsidiary of PespsiCo.
Gang members said they believed Sabritas had let law-enforcement agents use its trucks for surveillance. The company denied that.
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