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Tourists Warned on Traveling to Ciudad Juarez

July 12, 1986|Associated Press

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — The U.S. consul general warned American tourists Friday to exercise caution after Mexican soldiers wielding bayonets took over the city police department amid rising political tensions.

Army soldiers in Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, took control of the police department Thursday "at bayonet point," said City Manager Sergio Conde Varela.

The opposition National Action Party, which has alleged government-instituted fraud in the July 6 state elections, said Juarez was under martial law. But the government said Friday in Mexico City that martial law has not been declared.

Juarez, the largest city in the vast state of Chihuahua along the U.S-Mexico border, has been under National Action Party control for the last three years.

The results of the elections, to choose a state governor, 67 mayors and 14 state legislators, are to be announced Sunday.

"We are advising American citizens . . . that there's a strong possibility of political demonstrations," said U.S. Consul General Mike Hancock. "Americans should exercise due caution and avoid concentrations of people that might turn into political demonstrations."

Hancock stressed he was not advising tourists to stay out of Juarez.

"It's prudent for people to be aware of the political controversy and exercise due caution," he said.

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