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Protest against Durango cyanide plant ends with 37 arrested

La Aurora, Durango — A battle between ejido residents and police ended with the arrest of more than 30 people who took to the streets in protest of a new cyanide plant.

Members of the United Front of La Laguna Peoples have been protesting the Chemours Laguna project in the Gomez Palacio Municipality of Durango, which will produce 65,000 tons of cyanide if it starts operating.

Locals have been protesting with road blockades. The battle began when authorities arrived to remove a protest blockade. The conflict began at around 5:00 a.m. when local ejidos claim police arrived and began “throwing” women and older adults out of the way.

Locals retaliated by throwing stones and attacking police with sticks. Being outnumbered, police left but quickly returned with more officials. It didn’t take long for the brawl to include neighboring communities who also took to the streets.

More than 200 municipal and anti riot police clashed with residents for several hours. Officers reportedly used sticks, rocks, extinguishers and tear gas against the protesters, who in turn threw stones and Molotov cocktails, resulting in three injured officers.

By 10:00 a.m. the battle had settled enough for police to begin making arrests. In total, 37 people were taken to jail and 20 were left wounded.

Locals are calling for dialogue with the government. Activists claim the sodium cyanide production represents an environmental threat to the La Laguna region.