Police thwarted the attempted lynching of four suspected thieves in Mexico City, on the same day that the government launched an unprecedented security operation involving police forces across the country.
Conago 1, as the security push is known, is the product of the National Commission of Governors, which is headed by Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard. The week-long effort will coordinate the state and municipal police across the nation, ending June 19.
It aims to strike a blow at those crimes which most worry the public, such as kidnapping, extortion, and robbery. The operation has already begun to bear fruit, with reports of dozens of arrests around the country.
The effort comes in response to widespread dissatisfaction with Mexican law enforcement, especially at the state and local level. One illustration of this sentiment was on display in the Mexico City borough of Cuajimalpa, where police interrupted the attempted lynching of four suspected thieves on Monday, just an hour after Ebrard visited the area.
Some 500 police were deployed to break up the violence, and eleven officers were injured. (See video of the attack below.)
Public anger at the climate of insecurity and impunity in Mexico has sparked worries of vigilantism, even beyond such spontaneous reactions as the Cuajimalpa incident. There have been isolated cases of extra-legal forces taking aim at criminals, though none appear to have become established groups.
The indigenous community of Cheran, Michoacan, took up arms in April to defend themselves from illegal loggers working under the protection of the Familia Michoacana, the most powerful group in the region.