Border Strife Escalating in Tijuana

Neighborhood residents complain about US agents' tactics
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2007 4:18 PM CST
A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle is seen parked in the background through a repaired section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, June 29, 2007. Opinion makers and migrant advocates...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Areas of Tijuana that abut the American border have turned into battlegrounds, as Mexican smugglers lob rocks from rooftops at US Border Patrol agents, who have begun retaliating by firing pepper spray and tear gas into densely populated neighborhoods, the Los Angeles Times reports. The tactics have caused evacuations and sent both residents and agents to the hospital.

The Border Patrol used to launch pepper spray only at smugglers, but agents stepped up use of force when smugglers in makeshift cardboard armor became seemingly impervious to pepper balls. The more aggressive approach angers many. Mexico "cannot tolerate having Mexican nationals hit with these kind of devices on Mexican soil by U.S. authorities," one official said.