Alexa

German police arrest 18 people for brazen protest of Mexican President Calderon's visit

German police arrest 18 people for brazen protest of Mexican President Calderon's visit

Eighteen demonstrators skirted security measures at German President Horst Koehler's residence Thursday to unfurl a banner protesting the visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
The demonstrators waited until the gates at Schloss Bellevue had been opened to allow a car into the compound, then followed it through and rushed onto the palace's lawn.
They managed to briefly hold up a sheet with the spray-painted message "No More Murder Mexico: Out of Oaxaca" before being apprehended by federal police.
The incident occurred about 12:30 (1130 GMT), some 20 minutes before Calderon arrived at the residence to meet with Koehler.
All 18 were taken into temporary custody and faced possible charges of violating the country's right-to-assembly laws, said federal police spokeswoman Stefanie Kaufmann.
The poor mountainous state of Oaxaca is governed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI, which ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century.
Last year Democratic Revolution members joined thousands of leftist protesters who took over Oaxaca's state capital for five months to try and oust PRI Gov. Ulises Ruiz, who they accused of rigging the 2004 election to win office and sending gun-toting thugs against his enemies. Ruiz denies the charges.
Armed gangs and police fought protesters, leaving nine people dead including New York journalist-activist Bradley Roland Will.
Thousands of federal police finally pushed the protesters out of the city in October and November.
Berlin was Calderon's first stop on a six-day tour of Europe, where he planned to meet with global heavyweights at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and encourage foreign investment in Mexico.
He was to meet later in the day with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as leaders of Germany's automotive industry before heading to Switzerland.
The trip is Calderon's first to Europe since he took office Dec. 1.
Calderon has stepped up Mexico's battle against warring drug smugglers, sending 17,000 troops to top drug states and extraditing kingpins to the United States, including reputed Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas.
Mexican police have also arrested the alleged leader of the Oaxaca drug cartel, Pedro Diaz Parada. On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered Diaz Parada to be held over in a top security prison to face trial on drug trafficking and weapons charges.
Drug violence killed more than 2,000 Mexicans last year. Drug gangs fighting over lucrative routes to the United States have resorted to gruesome tactics, including beheadings.
Mexicans concerned about human rights violations by police and soldiers, however, worry that the law-and-order drive may lead to more of the rape and torture allegations long blamed on Mexico's security forces, especially given his choice of Interior Secretary: Francisco Ramirez Acuna, blamed for a violent response to demonstrators when he was governor of Jalisco in 2004.