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Two Mexican motorcyclists face 20 years in prison after causing a stampede when they revved their engines at a festival, which sent people into panic mode

Many motorcyclists will tell you that loud exhaust pipes are a safety feature, as they alert surrounding motorists of your presence. But for two Mexican riders, their loud exhausts have resulted in them being labelled terrorists.

The two riders have been charged with terrorism offences by Mexican authorities after they fired up their motorcycles, causing a nearboy crowd of festival-goers in the northern Mexican town of San Luis Potosi to begin panicking and eventually stampeding.

The crowd thought they heard gunshots, and in a country that sees tens of thousands of drug cartel related deaths the people attending the Holy Week celebrations naturally feared for their lives and fled en masse.

Some 47,000 deaths have been attributed to the drug wars since the Mexican government began its crack down in 2007.

If the motorcyclists are found guilty, the terrorism charges carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

The motorcyclists in question claim they were just warming up the engines on their bikes, but witness reports suggest that they were seen revving their engines and causing backfires long after the crowds began to panic.

Are the motorcyclists to blame, or is this a case of the justice system taking a wrong turn?

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Published : Thursday, 19 April 2012
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