MEXICO CITY – Hundreds of women marched in Mexico’s government office on Monday, some carrying children, others blowers, bats and hammers prepared for a confrontation they hope will force the country to tackle rampant violence against women.
The International Women’s Day protests stem from the wrath of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, supporting politicians accused of raping many women in a country experiencing the worst rates of sexual violence in the world. Despite the divisions within the ruling party on this issue But Lopez Sobrador supported politicians ahead of the June elections.
As protesters gathered around the National Palace – Lopez Obrador’s home and government seats, their fury focused on metal fences erected to protect the building from being invaded. A woman in a black silk robe pulled down a section of a barricade as police fired a flash bank bomb at the crowd, causing a slight panic.
At least 62 police and 19 civilians were injured on Monday evening, according to Mexico City’s security department.
As Lopez Sobrador portrayed his presidency as part of a populist movement to uplift marginalized people in Mexico, women activists said the president had ignored. To the needs of half the population The president confirmed on Monday that his government adheres to equality. But critics insist that there was little violence against women during his time in power.
In the two years since Lopez Obardor took office, the rate of violence against women has not changed significantly. Last year, an average of 10 women were killed in Mexico every day and there were about 16,000 rape cases.An investigation by news website Animal Politico found that from 2014 to 2018 only about 5 percent of all rape-related allegations included. Only rape results in criminal penalties.
The impunity that infuriates Mexico’s feminists has led some groups to embrace violence as a tactic to force the nation to pay attention to their demands.
“We fight today so that we don’t die tomorrow,” the women prayed on Monday as they walked across town to the National Palace. Others declared, “The fault is not mine, not because of where I am. Or what are you wearing? “
Over the weekend, activists spray painted barricades around the palace with the names of the women whose husbands, fans or who are supposed to be killed.
Ivette Granados, 49, and her daughter Maria Puente, 16, attended Monday’s protests together. They said they were angry with the daily battle against sexual harassment, many of whom said it was a common experience for all women in Mexico. Mothers and daughters took turns on a show about the assault they say they have suffered over the years: arrested in the street, on the subway or at a party, and the man flashed their genitals. Put them in public
Granados, meanwhile, opposed the use of violence as a tactic to promote the feminist movement. But she regrets that it appears to be the only thing that has led the nation to acknowledge the years-long battle for equality.
“I have seen this throughout history in the peaceful demonstrations of women – they have not brought any results,” said Granados. “I think these things turn the government and people around. And even though I disagree But life has already shown me that they are only going to look back on these situations. ”
The protests this year, which included thousands of women, are far fewer than the 2020 protests when tens of thousands of women came out.
Some women point out that the coronavirus is the cause of the smaller size of the product.
Last year, protesters filled the streets of the capital after a series of gruesome assaults on women, sparking public outrage, including the killing of a 7-year-old girl who was found to have been released from her pocket.
The next day, tens of thousands of women returned home from work to protest violence across the country.
Mr López Obrador has repeatedly reduced the protest movement or accused the feminist group of politically motivated.
And he has outraged many women in Mexico, refusing to condemn a leading member of his own party accused of rape by several women. Candidate Félix Salgado Macedonio is running for governor of Guerrero, pending a party opinion poll to confirm his candidacy.
In the morning of Monday’s protests, the president once again accused conservatives of joining the feminist movement and claimed that the women’s demonstrations had only begun after he took power. He pointed to his government as a commitment to the fight for equality, the first cabinet in Mexico’s history with half a woman seat.
Mr López Obrador defends the walls his government has built around the National Palace. And he said that while he supports the feminist movement, he will not tolerate the violence or vandalism seen during last year’s women’s demonstrations.
Granados and her daughter said the wall felt bad for the president who said he was the people of the people.
“Look, I don’t agree to destroy the monument or damage it,” said Mrs. Granados, “but it was clear to me that the monument was not worth more than a girl’s life.”
Ms. Puente, her daughter laid the pipe.
She said the wall “was a contradiction”.
Ana Sosa in Mexico City contributed to the report.