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Tijuana Police Chief Resigns Over Handling of Protest

Police Chief Gerardo Sosa Olachea resigned Monday night because of two “errors in the handling of a Sunday demonstration” in which seven police officers and 15 protesters and bystanders were injured. Twenty-four people were jailed.

The demonstrators, members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, were seeking the release of their leader, Alejandro Herrera, jailed last week when police tried to evict him and followers from lands they were occupying illegally.

Herrera’s wife, Roxana Soto, led the march of about 800 people to the last traffic signal before the border, where they were intercepted by police and a fight ensued.

Soto said police set off the violence when they fired tear gas.

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In his resignation, Sosa Olachea cited cited two errors: “One of them was the arrest by error of a local photographer and the other was that the demonstration ended in a violent manner.” The photographer was covering the demonstration for the ABC newspaper.

Sosa Olachea said he went to every newspaper office in Tijuana Monday night to announce his resignation and to explain how the violent demonstration occurred.

He gave his resignation to Mayor Rene Trevino about 8 p.m. Monday. Baja California Norte Gov. Xico Tencatel Leiva must still act on it.

Sosa Olachea was named chief of police Oct. 1 as a reformer. After hearing of the resignation, police planned to protest today by not patrolling the city for one hour, remaining at their stations. But the chief ordered them not do so.

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Sosa Olachea said the demonstrators were acting in a very violent way, so he ordered more than 100 police officers to intercept them near the border.

He said the demonstrators started the melee by throwing ornaments that are sold at the border.

One officer suffered a broken leg and another suffered severe facial cuts.

Police blocked traffic into the United States for about half an hour while they were waiting for the demonstrators.

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