January 13, 2008 / 5:45 PM / 13 years ago

Mexican teenager hurt in incident at U.S. border

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) - A teenager was injured when U.S. border patrol agents fired tear gas into Mexico over the weekend, despite a Mexican government complaint that U.S. agents were using excessive force.

Fifteen-year-old Cristian Saldana was hit in the nose by a tear gas canister on Saturday after he threw stones at border patrol agents trying to stop people from illegally crossing into the United States, witnesses said.

The teenager required stitches at a local hospital.

Mexico’s government criticized the U.S. border patrol for using excessive force after border patrol agents fired tear gas in another incident on Friday.

Mexico said it would investigate the use of tear gas by U.S agents, which it said has disturbed families in their homes.

In the Tijuana neighborhood where the incidents occurred, some homes are less than 10 meters (30 feet) from the border fence.

Mexican human rights commission official Heriberto Garcia said his organization has documented at least six cases of U.S. border agents firing tear gas into Mexico since November.

“We expect the Mexican government to do something to stop these attacks,” he told reporters. “After yesterday, it’s clear the U.S. government has not listened.”

A U.S. border patrol spokeswoman told El Universal newspaper that officers would continue using tear gas to ward off aggression at the border.

The United States is erecting fencing and installing high-tech surveillance equipment along hundreds of miles of the frontier with Mexico to try to stem the tide of illegal immigration from the south.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz

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