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A Women’s March in Mexico City Turns Violent, With at Least 81 Injured

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

The International Women’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 a few of the world’s worst charges of gender violence. Despite a rift inside the governing get together over the problem, Mr. López Obrador has supported the politician forward of June elections.

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

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

While Mr. López Obrador has portrayed his presidency as a part of a populist motion to raise up the marginalized in Mexico, ladies activists say the president has in reality 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 carried out about violence towards ladies throughout his time in energy.

In the roughly two years since Mr. López Obrador took workplace, the charges of violence towards ladies haven’t modified considerably. Last yr, a mean of 10 ladies have been killed in Mexico every single day, and there have been some 16,000 circumstances of rape. An investigation by one news website, Animal Politico, discovered that from 2014 to 2018, solely about 5 % of all sexual assault allegations, together with rape, resulted in a prison sentence.

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

“We fight today so we don’t die tomorrow,” ladies chanted Monday as they marched throughout the town to the nationwide palace. Others declared, “The fault is not mine, not because of where I was or what I was wearing.”

Over the weekend, activists spray-painted the barricade across the palace with the names of ladies 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 day by day battle towards the sexual abuse many say is each lady’s frequent expertise in Mexico. Mother and daughter took turns itemizing off the assaults they stated they’d suffered through the years: being grabbed in the road, on the metro or at a celebration, and males flashing their genitals at them in public.

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

“I have already seen it throughout history in the peaceful marches of women — they did not give any results,” stated Ms. Granados. “I think that these things make governments and people turn around. And even if I don’t agree, life has shown me that only then do they turn around to see these situations.”

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

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

Last yr, protesters crammed the capital’s streets after a number of grisly assaults towards ladies sparked public outrage, together with the killing of a 7-year-old lady who was discovered disemboweled in a physique bag.

A day later, tens of hundreds of ladies stayed house 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 in the state of Guerrero, pending a celebration ballot to verify 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 battle for equality, the primary cupboard in Mexican historical past to have half the seats crammed 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 throughout the ladies’s march final yr.

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 agree to destroy monuments or damage, right?” Ms. Granados stated. “But it is also clear to me that a monument is not worth more than the life of a girl.”

Her daughter, Ms. Puente, piped up.

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

Ana Sosa in Mexico City contributed reporting.

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