US issues travel warning for Acapulco amid protests – USA TODAY

Violent clashes break out en route to Mexico City’s international airport as outrage over the 43 missing student teachers boils. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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The United States Embassy in Mexico issued a travel warning for U.S. citizens traveling to the Mexican state of Guerrero, which includes the resort destination Acapulco, in the wake of violence and unrest following the disappearance of 43 students there.

Embassy personnel have been instructed “to defer non-essential travel to Acapulco, by air or land” and are prohibited from traveling by road in any other part of the state. The Embassy, based in Mexico City, cautions American citizens to follow the same guidelines.

Unrest in the area has grown since 43 university students went missing on Sept. 26. It is believed that corrupt local police turned the students over to drug gang members.

Demonstrators in Guerrero have blocked highways, taken control of toll booths, hijacked buses and blockaded Acapulco’s airport.

The outcry following the students’ disappearance brought massive demonstrations to Mexico City, including marches on a holiday celebrating the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

The U.S. Embassy cautions that Mexican law prohibits the participation of foreigners in political activities and warns, “even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.” The U.S. consular agency in Acapulco remains open.

The recent confrontations only exacerbate the decline of the resort city, which at one time was a popular destination for the rich and famous, but has seen a drastic decline in tourism as drug violence in the region has mounted and the once-sparkling ocean-side hotels have fallen into disrepair.

Two truck drivers were killed Friday night along a road in a community on the outskirts of the resort city and three others were injured when gunman opened fire on the vehicles with AK-47s, El Sol de Acapulco reports. Two other men were fatally shot in front of a fire department in another part of town the same evening, Novedades Acapulco reports.

Air travel to and from Ixtapa, about 150 miles north of Acapulco along the Pacific coast, is still permitted.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow William Cummings on Twitter: @wwcummings

US issues travel warning for Acapulco amid protests – USA TODAY

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