Police officer killed in Mexico gasoline price protests

Protesters have also blocked major highways, seized gas stations and burned tires.

Just before Friday's Epiphany or Three Kings Day holiday celebration, Mexico's streets are being controlled by protestors and looters in various areas.

A man allegedly looting a local department store in a small Mexican town was stripped and forced to march naked during gas price hike protest.

Two people were found dead amid looting in the port city of Veracruz. Mexican officials have expressed regret that these reforms went into effect as world oil prices have been increasing. Officials also said that around 1,700 businesses have been looted over the past two days.

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The Associated Press said the price of gas rose as much as 20 percent around the country.

On social media, some pundits speculate that the looting has been organized by shady, pro-government groups that are trying to distract people from the unpopular gas hikes, while giving the government an excuse to clamp down on all protesters.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said 64 arrests were made in the capital alone.

"I know that allowing gasoline to rise to its worldwide price is a hard change, but as president, my job is to precisely make hard decisions now, in order to avoid worse consequences in the future", Pena Nieto said in a televised address. Four state police officers were fired and detained after they were caught on video taking some looted items and putting them in their patrol vehicles.

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Officials claimed numerous lootings incidents were promoted through social media. Veracruz's state government is now offering a $20,000 reward for anyone that can provide information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the rioting.

With blockades affecting everything from gas distribution terminals, seaports and highways to shopping centers and gas stations, the Communications and Transport Department announced it would cancel the permits of any truckers who block roads.

People from Reynosa in Hidalgo County described a sudden spike in demand for gasoline after the Mexican government changed its price. That makes four liters, or about a gallon, equal to almost as much as Mexico's recently raised minimum wage for a day's work - 80 pesos (about $4).

Mexican retailers' association ANTAD urged federal and state authorities to intervene quickly, saying 79 stores had been sacked and 170 forcibly closed due to blockades.

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