A Girls’s March in Mexico Metropolis Turns Violent, With at Least 81 Injured

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MEXICO CITY — Tons of of girls marched on Mexico’s seat of presidency Monday, some carrying their kids, others blowtorches, bats and hammers, ready for a confrontation they hoped would drive the nation to sort out rampant violence in opposition to ladies.

The Worldwide Girls’s Day protest was fueled by anger at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has backed a politician accused by a number of ladies of rape in a rustic that suffers among the world’s worst charges of gender violence. Regardless of a rift throughout the governing get together over the difficulty, Mr. López Obrador has supported the politician forward of June elections.

Because the protesters gathered across the nationwide palace — Mr. Lopez Obrador’s residence and the seat of presidency — their ire was centered on a metallic fence that had been erected to guard the constructing from being overrun. Girls carrying black balaclavas pulled down elements of the barricade because the police fired volleys of flash-bang grenades into the group, inflicting a number of small stampedes.

At the least 62 police and 19 civilians have been injured by late Monday night, based on Mexico Metropolis’s safety department.

Whereas Mr. López Obrador has portrayed his presidency as a part of a populist motion to elevate up the marginalized in Mexico, ladies activists say the president has in actual fact been ignoring the wants of half the inhabitants. The president insisted on Monday that his authorities is dedicated to equality, however critics argue that little has been performed about violence in opposition to ladies throughout his time in energy.

Within the roughly two years since Mr. López Obrador took workplace, the charges of violence in opposition to ladies haven’t modified considerably. Final 12 months, a median of 10 ladies have been killed in Mexico on daily basis, and there have been some 16,000 instances of rape. An investigation by one information web site, Animal Politico, discovered that from 2014 to 2018, solely about 5 p.c of all sexual assault allegations, together with rape, resulted in a legal sentence.

It’s that impunity that has enraged Mexico’s feminists, main some teams to embrace violence as a tactic to drive the nation to concentrate to their calls for.

“We battle right now so we don’t die tomorrow,” ladies chanted Monday as they marched throughout town to the nationwide palace. Others declared, “The fault shouldn’t be mine, not due to the place I used to be or what I used to be carrying.”

Over the weekend, activists spray-painted the barricade across the palace with the names of girls killed by their husbands, boyfriends or supposed admirers.

Ivette Granados, 49, and her daughter Maria Puente, 16, attended Monday’s protest collectively. They stated they have been angered by their every day wrestle in opposition to the sexual abuse many say is each lady’s frequent expertise in Mexico. Mom and daughter took turns itemizing off the assaults they stated they’d suffered through the years: being grabbed on the street, on the metro or at a celebration, and males flashing their genitals at them in public.

Whereas Ms. Granados didn’t agree with utilizing violence as a tactic to additional the feminist motion, she lamented that it appeared to be the one factor that made the nation take discover of their yearslong wrestle for equality.

“I’ve already seen it all through historical past within the peaceable marches of girls — they didn’t give any outcomes,” stated Ms. Granados. “I feel that these items make governments and other people flip round. And even when I don’t agree, life has proven me that solely then do they flip round to see these conditions.”

This 12 months’s protests, which cumulatively drew a number of thousand ladies, have been a lot smaller than these in 2020, when tens of 1000’s turned out.

Some ladies pointed to the coronavirus because the trigger for the smaller turnout.

Final 12 months, protesters stuffed the capital’s streets after a number of grisly assaults in opposition to ladies sparked public outrage, together with the killing of a 7-year-old woman who was discovered disemboweled in a physique bag.

A day later, tens of 1000’s of girls stayed dwelling from work in a nationwide strike to protest the violence.

Mr. López Obrador has repeatedly minimized the protest motion or accused feminist teams of being politically motivated.

And he has additional incensed many ladies in Mexico by refusing to sentence a number one member of his personal get together who has been accused of sexual assault by a number of ladies. The candidate, Félix Salgado Macedonio, is working for governor within the state of Guerrero, pending a celebration ballot to substantiate his candidacy.

On the morning of Monday’s protest, the president once more accused conservative teams of co-opting the feminist motion, and claimed that girls’s marches had begun solely after he took energy. He pointed to his personal authorities as a dedication to his wrestle for equality, the primary cupboard in Mexican historical past to have half the seats stuffed by ladies.

Mr. López Obrador defended the wall his authorities erected across the nationwide palace. And he stated that whereas he supported the feminist motion, he wouldn’t tolerate the violence or the vandalism seen through the ladies’s march final 12 months.

Ms. Granados and her daughter stated the wall felt out of conserving for a president who says he’s a person of the individuals.

“Look, I don’t conform to destroy monuments or injury, proper?” Ms. Granados stated. “However it is usually clear to me {that a} monument shouldn’t be value greater than the lifetime of a lady.”

Her daughter, Ms. Puente, piped up.

The wall, she stated, “is a contradiction.”

Ana Sosa in Mexico Metropolis contributed reporting.

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