Homemade bombs exploded early yesterday at Mexico's Federal Electoral Tribunal, a Bank of Nova Scotia branch, and at the headquarters of the former ruling party in Mexico's capital.
Police deactivated a fourth explosive before it went off at a second Scotiabank branch and were inspecting a backpack found outside an outlet of the Mexican restaurant chain Sanborns.
There were no injuries and no immediate claims of responsibility for the bombs, which were widely dispersed across the city. Emergency officials received two telephone calls shortly after midnight warning that bombs were about to go off.
The explosions shortly afterward damaged an auditorium at the headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. They also shattered windows and caused minor damage at the bank, electoral court and nearby businesses and residences, rattling nerves in Mexico, which has been besieged by protests since its polarizing July 2 presidential elections.
The explosion at a Scotiabank branch in southern Mexico City was followed by "a strong smell of gunpowder," a witness told the newspaper Reforma.
Officials said a police bomb squad deactivated an explosive device at a second branch of Scotiabank near the tribunal.
Scotiabank operates in 50 countries worldwide. Its Mexican division, Scotiabank Inverlat, is the country's seventh-largest commercial bank with about 450 branches.
Spokesman Frank Switzer said there was an unknown amount of structural damage to the one branch, which remains closed. The Toronto-based bank has also stepped up security at its other Mexican branches as a precaution.
"Safety and security of our customers and employees is one of our biggest priorities," he said. "We're continuing to co-operate in the police investigation."
The explosions came a day after more than 20,000 leftists from across Mexico marched in the southern city of Oaxaca to demand the withdrawal of federal police who were sent in on Oct. 29 to end violence linked to a five-month protest against the state's governor.
Flavio Sosa, a protest leader, said his movement had no ties to the explosions. BNS (TSX) rose 11 cents to $51.21. AP, CP