Two people have died as clashes broke out during a protest at La Boquilla dam on Tuesday, September 8. Protesters had gathered at the dam to demonstrate against the Mexican government's decision to divert water from the dam to the US. They set up tents near the dam and clashed with National Guard troops deployed to protect the dam. The protesters threw Molotov cocktails and other projectiles at security forces and managed to occupy the dam and close the sluice gates. Security forces retaliated with tear gas and three people were arrested, before the National Guard reportedly withdrew to avoid inflaming the situation further. There were unconfirmed reports of shots being fired from both sides. After the clashes subsided, National guard troops discovered one dead and one injured person in a vehicle that had been hit by at least three bullets. The injured person was taken to hospital but later died from their wounds.
Further unrest in the vicinity of the dam is possible over the near term a heightened security presence and associated disruptions should be expected.
Mexico has reportedly lagged in the amount of water it must send to the US under a 1944 treaty, but farmers in Chihuahua want the water for their own crops, especially as the region is experiencing a drought at present. Mexico's president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has blamed opposition politicians of stoking the protests for their own political gain and motives.
Under the treaty, Mexico owes almost 486 million cubic meters of water this year that must be paid by October 24.
Those in Chihuahua state are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations and political gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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