Mexican mayor tied to truck, dragged through street in protest

LAS MARGARITAS, Mexico (AFP) – Angry farmers stormed a city hall in southern Mexico, seized the mayor and dragged him through town from the back of a pickup truck in protest, officials said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred on Tuesday when dozens of members of the Tojolabal indigenous community armed with clubs broke into the mayor’s office in the town of Las Margaritas in the state of Chiapas.

Witnesses told investigators they tied up the mayor, Jorge Luis Escandon, pushed him outside and tied him to the back of a pickup.

They then dragged him several dozen metres down the street, before police and public employees intervened and freed Escandon, who survived without major injury.

The mayor accused his attackers of trying to extort him.

“Around 50 or 60 people came in three pickup trucks, armed with clubs and looking to kidnap city officials to extort us and get what they’ve always wanted: To be given money,” he told AFP.

“They started struggling, carrying me, tied up one foot and dragged me out of my office to the street,” he said.

State prosecutor Jorge Luis Llaven said the attackers were demanding more public resources, including direct cash transfers, for their rural community, Santa Rita El Invernadero.

Leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has introduced a policy of providing public assistance in the form of cash payments to beneficiaries, in order to stem corruption by cutting out bureaucratic middlemen.