Raw video : MEXICO CITY – Several people were injured Friday when inmates at a prison in this capital rioted after authorities suspended family visits out of concern about the swine-flu outbreak blamed for as many as 176 deaths in Mexico.
According to prison administration officials, the riot began at mid-morning when an undetermined number of inmates from one of the cell blocks clashed with another group, hitting each other and throwing objects.
“Since family visits are suspended, they were on edge, not against the guards but with each other,” one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Television stations showed dozens of police and family members in front of the jail as they approached, the cops in case they were needed to keep order and the visitors to find out at first hand their jailed relatives’ state of health.
The incident did not get any worse, they said, because the guards’ intervention “was very fast.”
Eight days ago, when the government announced a health alert because of the outbreak of AH1N1 flu virus, restrictions began to be applied on visits to Mexico City’s municipal jails, which hold 28,664 inmates.
Until next Wednesday, coinciding with the generalized suspension of activities imposed by the government, no visits are permitted.
Upon hearing about the incident at the jail, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard acknowledged that “there is bad feeling about some measures” taken by the authorities, but said that they will be maintained because “they are for the good of everyone.”
“We can’t allow 50,000 people to enter and leave the prisons or we’ll soon have an epidemic,” he said.
Mexican authorities increased Friday from 12 to 15 the number of confirmed deaths from swine flu in the country, and from 300 to 343 the proven cases of infected patients.
The AH1N1 virus is suspected in another 161 fatalities in Mexico. EFE
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