Mexican border state moves to quash farmworkers protest over wages, arrests 200

MEXICO CITY – The government of the Mexican border state of Baja California arrested more than 200 people in a bid to quash protests and road blockages by farmworkers demanding higher wages.

Farmworkers around the town of San Quintin often make less than $8 a day picking fruit and vegetables. They want wages raised to about $20 a day.

The stoppages have affected the rich agricultural area south of the coastal city of Ensenada.

The Baja California state government said the 200 were arrested on suspicion of vandalism and blocking roads. It offered increased inspections to guarantee working conditions for about 1,200 day labourers.

In a statement posted on the website of one of the organizers, the workers said they want overtime pay, medical care and an end to sexual harassment by bosses.