Canadian Manufacturing

10 people injured after attack on Coca-Cola bottler in Mexico

Coca-Cola Femsa said it is "evaluating the viability" of its operations after attack on offices in southern Mexico state of Guerrero

MEXICO CITY—An an attempt to attack Coca-Cola Co. offices in southern Mexico left 10 people injured, according to the local state government.

The violence occurred in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state, late Feb. 18.

The Guerrero state government said protesters tried to attack the company offices “to damage the facilities.”

It said the demonstrators, including teachers’ college students and unionized teachers, threw gasoline bombs, and a state police officer was burned.

Three other police officers were injured, along with two reporters and four protesters.

The demonstrators briefly took two company employees hostage.

Coca-Cola Femsa S.A.B. de C.V., Mexico’s largest Coke bottler, confirmed that, saying in a statement that “fortunately, our employees are well.”

The company did not say under what conditions the employees were released.

Local media reported the two employees were exchanged for protesters arrested earlier for taking Coke products from hijacked delivery trucks.

Coca-Cola delivery trucks have been hijacked and merchandise stolen by demonstrators protesting the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 teachers college students.

Local police reportedly detained the students in the nearby city of Iguala, then turned them over to a drug gang that apparently killed them and incinerated their remains.

Local media reported the company had filed a complaint about the thefts resulting in the arrest of some protesters.

Coca-Cola Femsa would not confirm that, but said it is “currently evaluating the viability of our operations, with the primary consideration being the safety of our personnel.”

It’s not the first time Coca-Cola has been attacked in Mexico, or reduced operations in dangerous areas.

In August, the company closed a distribution plant in Arceliao, Guerrero, after receiving threats before attackers burned four delivery trucks in an area known for gang battles, the company said.

Coca-Cola Femsa did not specify the nature of the threats, but said they were directed at delivery personnel.

In 2012, the Knights Templar cartel in neighbouring Michoacan state burned five warehouses and dozens of vehicles owned by the Sabritas snack company, a Mexican subsidiary of PespsiCo Inc.

Gang members said they believed Sabritas had let law enforcement agents use its trucks for surveillance.

The company denied that.

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