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Baja California tries to come back to normal following a weekend of cartel violence


As Mexican national guard troops patrolled the streets of Tijuana and cruiselines canceled dockings in Ensenada over fears of violence, Baja California residents struggled Sunday to come back on track life after hooded bandits connected with criminal cartels effectively turn off much of the spot Friday.

State officials said the assailants hijacked and burned at the very least two dozen vehicles and set up roadblocks round the state Friday evening. Messages also began circulating on social media marketing, purportedly from the Jalisco New Generation cartel, declaring a curfew in Tijuana and warning residents to go back home or risk being attacked. Many did, turning the normally frenetic zone of restaurants and bars around Avenida Revolucin right into a virtual ghost town.

By Saturday afternoon, a huge selection of military troops and special forces had found its way to Tijuana to greatly help restore order and reinforce security. Some 300 troops, alongside 50 members of the national guard, were flown directly into support 3,000 national guard troops and the two 2,000-strong Tijuana police that, based on the mayor, were already patrolling.

Right before noon Sunday, the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana announced on Twitter that it had rescinded an order issued Friday night that U.S. government personnel shelter set up.

One individual was reportedly injured in the violence but no-one was killed, in accordance with government officials and news reports. It had been the third amount of time in weekly that cartels unleashed widespread mayhem in cities across Mexico.

Days earlier, at least 11 people were killed in Ciudad Jurez, across from El Paso, in some attacks that targeted convenience stores, gasoline stations and a pizza shop. Drug cartels also set fire to a large number of shops, buses and cars and blockaded major roadways in the us of Jalisco and Guanajuato. Authorities in those states reported one fatality.

Federal officials said 17 suspects have been detained regarding the the violence, including seven people in Tijuana and four each in Rosarito and Mexicali.

It had been unclear how, or whether, the events were related. Officials said the rampage in Ciudad Jurez came in retaliation for a prison riot there, as the chaos in Jalisco and Guanajuato was unleashed by leaders of the Jalisco cartel angry about plans to arrest them.

The shutdowns in Baja, which affected Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali, Ensenada and Rosarito Beach, were reportedly as a result of exactly the same cartel, but other connections weren’t immediately known.

Local officials vowed never to be intimidated.

Today we have been saying to the organized crime groups which are committing these crimes that Tijuana will remain open and look after its citizens, said Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero in a video message Saturday. She also asked organized crime, the word in Mexico for drug cartels, to stay their debts with those that didnt pay what they owe, not with families and hard-working citizens.

On Saturday, the morning after a lot of the violence, a lot of Tijuanas streets appeared virtually empty. Many buses had stopped running, leaving workers stranded.

In Rosarito, attendees of a favorite music festival, the Baja Beach Fest, were swept up in the chaos.

I left Baja Beach Fest about one hour ago, Alexis Hodoyn, the music editor of Remezcla, said on Twitter soon after midnight Saturday. There is no signal. Festival goers probably dont know whats happening. Theres no chance everyone at the festival is residing in Rosarito. Taxis arent entering Tijuana that is likely to be chaos.

About 12 hours later, she reported that she was driving through Tijuana to come back to NORTH PARK. Most companies are open and things seem normal, she tweeted, aside from the considerable decrease in vehicular traffic, which includes been notoriously horrible in the town the last year or two.

Jos Rodriguez, a taxi driver in Tijuanas Zona Norte, felt secure enough by Saturday afternoon to come back to work.

Were definitely fearful in what happened and the chance of losing a car, having it burned, but we also believe that public transportation is really a responsibility that people have, he said, adding that it appeared like the criminal groups werent seeking to hurt anyone, but instead trying to create a statement or issue a warning.

By Sunday, many restaurants which are section of Tijuanas famous food scene had reopened their doors.

We have been open; everything is normal, said a female answering the telephone at La Espadaa, a favorite restaurant in Tijuana. She added, however, that the restaurant will be closing sooner than usual due to the mayhem.

At the restaurant Casa Tijuana Project, an individual answering the telephone seemed confused by questions about mayhem. The restaurant was open; was a reservation desired or not?

Still, life was definately not normal an undeniable fact clarified to cruise lines that were scheduled to dock at Ensenada.

May be the Radiance docking today in Ensenada? one individual asked on Twitter. My parents are on the ship.

Carnival CRUISELINES Twitter account answered within a few minutes. Because of recent local unrest, it wrote, the Carnival Radiance will cancel the decision in Ensenada.

LOL, added another person. Im on a cruise to Ensenada for work plus they arent letting us off the boat now.

David Shirk, a University of NORTH PARK professor who follows organized crime in Mexico, said these kinds of events underscore the idea that, in lots of ways, organized crime calls the shots with regards to security in Baja California.

Despite the fact that nobody was killed, the violence, Shirk said, further erodes public rely upon government and police authorities designated to safeguard them and combat organized crime.

The authorities cannot establish order, and theyre unable to hold visitors to account, Shirk said.

Times staff writer Garrison reported from Sacramento. NORTH PARK Union-Tribune reporters Fry and Mendoza reported from Tijuana. The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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