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Protesters Cut Water Supply to 45,000 in Oaxaca

OAXACA DE JUAREZ, Mexico

A group of residents from the municipality of San Antonio de la Cal in Mexico's Oaxaca state seized a drinking water plant and cut water supply to several areas of Oaxaca de Juarez to demand a resolution to a post-election conflict. The move left 45,000 people without water, according to local press reports.

The head of utility Potable Water and Sewerage Services of Oaxaca (SAPAO), Sergio Pablo Ríos Aquino, said protesters had entered the facility armed with clubs and pipes. He said they injured plant operator José Antonio Avendaño.

SAPAO spokesman Enoc Martinez said the utility had to reroute water supplies and re-planned distribution with water tanker trucks during the plant occupation.

The plant was reported seized on April 9th. A day later, local papers reported that it had been recaptured and that supply was slowly restarting.

Ríos said that the water cuts had affected 20 communities, two neighborhoods, one municipal agency, and three residential units, for a total of 45,000 people.

Communities affected include Centro de la Ciudad, Libertad, Víctor Bravo Ahuja, América Sur, Fernando Gómez Sandoval, Surcos Largos, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, José López Portillo, José Vasconcelos, Artículo 123 and Arboleda.

Nearby, in the town of San Juan Bautista Atatlahuca, local residents warned of a possible confrontation due to water and other service cuts.

Laurentino Santiago Bautista, a municipal officer for Zoquiapan Boca de los Ríos, said that since last December the municipal president and other officials have blocked the area's potable and irrigation water services, in retaliation for challenging elections.

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