More than 100,000 people marched in Mexico against Plan B

MEXICO CITY – More than 100,000 people took to the streets in Mexico on Sunday to protest new laws that would restrict the country’s electoral institution and reject the president’s attempts to weaken a pillar of democracy, protesters said.

Dressed in various shades of pink, the official color of the electoral watchdog that helped end one-party rule two decades ago, protesters filled the Zócalo in the capital, chanting “The vote is not touched!”

Participants said they wanted to send a message to Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who lives in the National Palace in front of the capital’s main square, in support of the measures.

But they went straight to the nation’s Supreme Court, which is expected to hear challenges to changes to the electoral agency in the coming months. Many see it as a major challenge to the court, which has been criticized by the president.

On Sunday morning, protesters also chanted: “I trust the court!”

Hours before the official protest began, participants, some dressed in well-ironed button-down shirts and straw hats, gathered in cafeterias and ate breakfast on a terrace overlooking the seat of government.

But there was a tense atmosphere on the street.

“I paid my own expenses and stay, but that didn’t bother me: I would do that and more for my country,” said Marta Ofelia Gonzalez, 75, who flew in from Mazatlán in the coastal state of Sinaloa. He wore a straw mask to shield himself from the hot sun.

He left because he feared “we will lose democracy, we will become a dictatorship”.

See also  Biden announced that the US would send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine

The president argues that the changes will save millions of dollars and improve the voting system. But election officials say the change will make it harder to ensure free and fair elections, including next year’s presidential election.

“This is the last hope,” said Guadalupe Acosta Naranjo, a former leftist lawmaker and one of the protest organizers. “We want to build support for the Supreme Court to declare these laws unconstitutional,” he said. Otherwise, Acosta Naranjo added, “we may have to go to elections with a partial jury and a reduced jury.”

How many people protested across the country — demonstrations were organized in more than 100 cities — though the number in Mexico City alone exceeded 100,000, according to organizers and local officials.

The recent verdict in a Brooklyn court of Genaro García Luna, a former Mexican security official found guilty of taking bribes from drug traffickers: In Mexico, the verdict is widely seen as harming someone from the opposition. The parties organized the protest on Sunday.

García Luna served for more than a decade as a top security official with two leaders of the National Action Party — Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon — who publicly called on citizens to join the resistance.

Along the streets that demonstrators traveled on Sunday, there were posters with Garcia Luna’s face and the word “criminal.”

The President indicated that the protesters were motivated by a desire to return the country to the corrupt leaders of the past.

“They’re going to come because there’s a group of corrupt people who want to return to power to continue stealing,” López Obrador said of Sunday’s protesters at a recent press conference. Don’t come here to say, “We care about democracy and democracy is suffering.”

See also  Where was Cofece? AMLO questions after forging and cloning Bad Bunny concert tickets – El Financiero

For the second time in about four months, Mexicans have come out in favor of an election watchdog agency that the president and his supporters say has become a bloated bureaucracy co-opted by political interests.

“He has excessive and diverted power,” said Pedro Miguel, a journalist with the leftist daily La Jornada, who described himself as a “militant” of the president’s political plan. Miguel criticized INE for overpaying its members, including retirement bonuses.

“That march seems to be about defending those bonuses and those miserable salaries,” he said of Sunday’s protest.

The measures, approved by the legislature last week, would cut the agency’s staff, undermine its autonomy and limit its ability to allow politicians to violate election law. Election officials say the change will eliminate most of the workers who directly monitor voting and set up polling stations across the country.

“It even jeopardizes the validity of the elections,” INE’s outgoing head Lorenzo Cordova said in an interview.

The demonstrations come as the country prepares for the start of the 2024 presidential election campaign, amid serious doubts about whether the failed and growing opposition has the strength to win over disillusioned voters.

“This is a very important test of how much they can mobilize their social base,” said Blanca Heredia, a professor at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching, referring to the parties opposing the president. Initials, AMLO.

Sunday’s rally, according to some analysts, was large enough to indicate that many Mexicans are eager to support their institutions and voice their displeasure with the president.

See also  A new country has adopted the euro as its official currency since this year: what is it?

González, Mazatlán’s opponent, said he did not vote for Lopez Obrador “because the water in the tank is still rising.”

It remains to be seen whether the opposition parties will take advantage of this deception in the elections.

“They have an anti-AMLO sentiment,” Heredia said of the parties facing López Obrador. “If they want to attract more voters, apart from those who are anti-AMLO, they need a positive plan, which some are planning to propose to the country.”

Elda Cantu contributed to this report.

Natalie Kittroff is The Times’ bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. @Natalikidro

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *