Mexico Gas Station Attendant Dies, Seen As Hero

Published January 2, 2012 7:36PM (EST)

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — A gas station attendant who died of burns after shutting off pumps set alight during a violent protest was being honored Monday in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero.

Officials held a ceremony to honor Gonzalo Rivas Camara in the main square of the state capital, Chilpancingo, where he worked.

The Guerrero state government said he died of his injuries Sunday at a hospital near Mexico City.

More attention has been focused on two protesters who were shot to death at the Dec. 12 protest after students from a rural teachers' college blocked a highway to demand more funds for the school and battled police trying to clear the highway.

Armed police were photographed at the scene pointing their guns at the protesters, and 12 policemen are under investigation in those shootings.

Station manager Alejandro Montealegre said he saw two men with T-shirts bearing the name of the teachers' college set the pumps afire with jugs of gasoline during the protest. That coincides with testimony gathered by state prosecutors.

While one or two pumps did catch fire, the flames did not spread to underground tanks or other clusters of pumps nearby, apparently because Rivas Camara closed off valves that fed the burning pumps.

By Salon Staff

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