Military police secure a store after it was looted during a protest in the port of Veracruz, Mexico, on Wednesday.

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Mexico's government says fuel price hikes are necessary

Protesters block roads and march to show frustration

CNN  — 

A hefty government gas price hike is fueling protests, looting and road blockades in Mexico.

Authorities arrested more than 250 people for robbery and acts of vandalism around the country this week, officials said.

Some protests have been peaceful.

Demonstrators protest against the rise in fuel prices at a petrol station in Mexico City on Thursday.

But in other parts of the country, people ransacked stores.

People pick up toys as they loot a store during a protest in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, they clamored to get gas.

Residents steal gasoline and diesel from a gas station following protests against an increase in fuel prices in Allende, Mexico, on Tuesday.

Officials announced in December that they were planning to increase gas prices, in some cases more than 20%. President Enrique Peña Nieto says the increase is a “responsible measure for the stability of the economy.”

Some protesters say their frustration with the government is about much more than sticker shock. Peña Nieto has faced criticism for his handling of the country’s drug war, alleged corruption in his administration and his decision to meet with Donald Trump during the US presidential campaign.

Mexico’s ‘contingency plan’ against Trump isn’t working

This is a time of year when Mexicans normally gear up to celebrate Three Kings Day, when children traditionally receive holiday gifts. But the sudden gas price hike is dampening the mood in a country where the economy is already struggling.

mexican peso vs dollar CNNMoney chart

The Mexican peso – riding a tough year in 2016 – plummeted after Trump’s election.

CNNMoney’s Patrick Gillespie and CNN’s Sergio Hernandez contributed to this report.