San Ysidro Port of Entry reopens after closure due to protests i - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Ysidro Port of Entry reopens after closure due to protests in Tijuana

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) - Traffic was back to normal Sunday on the southbound freeways leading into Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, after they were closed Saturday night due to protesters south of the border who were angry over gas prices, according to authorities. 

The California Highway Patrol closed southbound Interstates 5 and 805 for almost four hours beginning at about 5:30 p.m., diverting cars attempting to enter Mexico to the Otay Mesa border crossing. Northbound traffic was not affected by the protest, according to officials. 

Southbound traffic was diverted to state Route 905 during the freeway closures. 

All travelers wanting to enter Mexico in a vehicle had to do so through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry

The closures and subsequent traffic jam in the area were prompted by protesters unhappy about increasing gasoline prices in Mexico who had inundated the El Chaparral Port of Entry in Tijuana.  

The problems started at the beginning of the year when Mexico stopped regulating gas prices and prices increased about 20 percent.   

Anger over the prices hikes in Mexico fueled protests and looting. Officials said the unrest resulted in the death of a policeman and a bystander, the ransacking of 300 stores and arrests of over 700 people as of Jan. 5.   

Demonstrators said they would return to the Tijuana crossing Sunday, but that had not materialized as of early afternoon, with a CHP spokeswoman saying that traffic was normal.

This is a Breaking News Update to previous story below

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A protest against Mexico's 20-percent gasoline price hike turned violent Saturday after a lone protester drove his truck into a line of police guarding a fuel distribution terminal in Baja California.

Federal police said seven officers were injured in the incident in Rosarito, near the border city of Tijuana.

Video showed the small pickup driving straight into the line of riot police, then backing up and speeding off.

Largely peaceful protests against the fuel price increases continued elsewhere in Mexico Saturday, and looting seen earlier in the week largely subsided. But nervousness remained.

Officials in Veracruz, one of the states hardest-hit by the looting on Wednesday and Thursday, said some neighborhood groups had begun to form patrols of residents armed with staves or machetes to ward off looters.

Veracruz Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes Linares said 532 people had been detained in his state alone and that social rumors of further looting — apparently unfounded — had caused "an artificial psychosis."

He said that in the northern part of the state, given this psychosis, "the neighbors decided to arm themselves with staves, machetes, creating the impression that there were armed groups of criminals."

Yunes Linares said the government was trying to convince residents to stop such patrolling.

The Interior Department reported a total of more than 1,500 people have been detained for looting or disturbances nationwide since protests began early in the week.

It is unclear how many have been charged. Hundreds of stores were looted, mainly on Wednesday and Thursday. Police protection of stores has been stepped up since.

The federal police reported continued protests, and some highway blockages, on Saturday.

Thousands of people marched down main avenues in the western city of Guadalajara Saturday to protest the increases, which are part of a government effort to deregulate fuel prices.

Despite persistent rumors that political interests might have egged on the looters to smear the gas-hike protesters, Yunes Linares said there was "no evidence that political parties were involved." He said authorities were investigating whether criminal gangs had taken part.

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