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September 26, 2017

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Fans of the Biebster camp out in Mexico before free concert

MEXICO CITY--A "tween" squatter encampment has sprung up in the chaotic Mexico City center as Beliebers seek to be closest to the stage when teenage superstar Justin Bieber puts on a free concert Monday evening on the capital's vast central plaza.

Dozens of mostly girls aged 10 to 14 traveled for hundreds of miles to camp Sunday along a street near the Zocalo, where tens of thousands of unrelated political demonstrators gathered and crews erected the concert stage.

Many of the young campers, dressed in Bieber's favorite color of purple and bopping to his music on headphones, were chaperoned by parents, some of whom took time off work to help their children miss school and be part of an audience expected to top 200,000.

The line of hundreds, which broke out spontaneously in chants of "Justin," seemed more worried about the giant cockroaches that roam Mexico City's streets at night than security, even as a similar free concert by Bieber in Norway two weeks ago caused a stampede that injured dozens of fans.

"We kill them so they don't get close to the girls," Elizabeth Noriegas said of the roaches as she waited with her daughter, Frida Coss, the 17-year-old president of the Official Justin Bieber Fan Club of Mexico City. Frida was first in line.

"Naturally we'd be worried about safety, but it looks like the government is taking the necessary precautions," said Monica Gomez, mother of Renata, 11, who will miss school Monday as she waits in line.

Authorities said they will have more than 5,000 police on hand for the concert on the Zocalo, helping keep order around barricades and checkpoints meant to prevent a dangerous crush of fans. Most will have to watch Bieber on a series of large screens set up near the plaza, rather than inside with their idol.

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