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Violence closes schools early in Mexican state, governor says

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: 30 dead in drug violence in recent days
  • Safety concerns prompted move, governor says
  • Governor also will take over state police
  • Governor denies media reports of death threat

Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- Elementary and middle school classes in the Mexican state of Nayarit will end Friday, three weeks early, due to concerns over safety, the governor announced.

Saying that Nayarit faces difficult days, Gov. Ney Gonzalez Sanchez also announced that his administration is taking over command of the state police, the official Notimex news agency reported.

Gonzalez also denied on his Facebook page a media report that he has faced death threats.

The governor, who has an active presence on Facebook, posted a status update Wednesday that disputed media accounts that said he knows he will be assassinated and that he will laugh at his killers from heaven.

"This is false," Gonzalez said on Facebook. "I ratify that I am not threatened, nor do I spend time making 'bravura' declarations. I know the seriousness involved in my responsibility [as governor] and I know how to conduct myself."

The governor's comments came amid a recent rash of drug gang violence that has left at least 30 people dead in the state in recent days. He will meet that violence head on, Gonzalez said in Notimex.

There will be, he said, "operations of a surgical nature to go remove those we need to remove in the places we know about."

Gonzalez said he decided to shorten the school year so parents would have less to fear, reported.

"Let the parents not have any anxiety, any anguish, about what is happening in the streets while the government establishes order," Gonzalez said.

A four-hour shootout Tuesday between authorities and gang members left the public unhinged, Gonzalez said. The confrontation occurred in Tepic, the state's capital. Nayarit is located on the central west coast, bordering the Pacific.

Rumors had circulated in the city that gang members were targeting schools.

"Anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, cell telephones, text messages to generate rumors that make the public run from their homes, from their work, to go take their children out of school, provoking tumult at the school doors, is as much of a delinquent as the organized criminals we are fighting," Gonzalez said.

The governor also said professors relayed to him through social networks that they were done teaching for the year.

"Ney," the governor said teachers told him, "we are not doing anything any more. We are making cultural trips to entertain the children until the official date to end the [school year] cycle."

Classes for the nation's 30 million students are scheduled to end July 9.

Gonzalez said he will propose that high school and college classes in the state also end early.

He did not answer two telephone calls from CNN seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

CNN's Arthur Brice contributed to this report.