Today, September 1st 2013, roughly 50,000 protesters have been out in the streets of Mexico City to protest against the educational and energy reforms of President Peña Nieto and the Mexican Congress.
As can be seen in images on Twitter, police have been carrying fire extinguishers, and protesters have been blocked off by large numbers of police officers. Members of the army have also been seen out in the streets, and water cannons have been placed on standby. Police have also been putting on gas masks and rubber bullets have been fired.
While there may have been some small violent clashes, perpetrated either by anarchists or undercover policemen, as has been claimed, the CNTE, the union of teachers central in these protests, has criticised violent acts and has tried to distance itself such confrontations. Nonetheless, disproportionate security is out in force, on the orders of Miguel Ángel Mancera, mayor of Mexico City, with the main aim of protecting the Mexican Congress.
Mancera affirmed that Congress would open on September 1st, as usual, though senators have had to arrive with police escorts on special buses. The protests in the city have also caused the president to postpone his first ‘Informe Presidencial’, similar to the State of the Union address in the USA. It will now take place on September 2nd, and will be moved it from the Campo Militar Marte to Los Pinos, the official residence of the Mexican president.
If the amount of security forces out in the streets of the city were not enough to suggest that the president was scared, as the hash-tag on Twitter continues to echo, this change in plans confirms that this president does not feel comfortable being close to the Mexican people. This has been the case since his victory in last year’s elections, in which he won only 38.2% of the votes amid sizeable protests, alleged media bias, and accusations of electoral fraud.
The protests of the Mexican people today are an inspiration to the world, showing that, in the face of injustice, corruption, and unpopular reforms, citizens must stand up and make their voices heard.
Solidarity with the Mexican people!
¡Justicia, tierra y libertad!