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In Mexico, tens of thousands of demonstrators march against the president

Photo: Marco Ugarte Associated Press In Mexico City on Sunday, thousands of people dressed in pink gathered in the city's main square shouting “Get López out.”

Amaranta Marentes – Associated Press in Mexico

February 19, 2024

  • Americas

Tens of thousands of protesters dressed in pink marched through cities in Mexico and abroad on Sunday in what they called a “march for democracy,” targeting the ruling party in the country, in the run-up to the June 2 elections.

Protests called by Mexican opposition parties called for free and fair elections in the Latin American country and denounced corruption on the same day Claudia Sheinbaum officially registered to run presidential election as candidate of the ruling party, Morena.

About 90,000 people joined the demonstration, according to government figures.

Ms. Sheinbaum is widely seen as the successor to the highly popular Mexican populist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He is adored by many voters who say he ousted the elite party from power in 2018 and represents the working class.

But the 70-year-old president has also been accused of taking steps that endanger the country's democracy. Last year, the leader cut funding to the country's electoral agency, the National Electoral Institute (INE), and weakened controls on campaign spending, which the INE chief said could “end up poisoning democracy itself.” The institute's color, pink, was used as a symbol by the demonstrators.

Mr. López Obrador also attacked journalists in hours-long press briefings, frequently attacked Mexico's judicial system, and claimed that judges were part of a conservative conspiracy against his administration.

In Mexico City on Sunday, thousands of people dressed in pink gathered in the city's main square, shouting “Get López out.” Others carried signs reading “the power of the citizens is greater than the citizen in power.”

Gabriela Ozuna, 61, said she and her family were from the state of Baja California and were participating in the march not only to support democratic institutions, but also to protest attacks by cartels. drugs against candidates, particularly during local elections.

“We know our democracy is in danger. What we want to do is defend it and continue to defend it,” thundered Ms. Ozuna.

Among the opposition organizations that marched were the National Civic Front, Yes for Mexico, Citizen Power, Civil Society of Mexico, UNE Mexico and United for Mexico.< /p>

“Democracy doesn’t solve water shortages, it doesn’t solve hunger, it doesn’t solve many problems. But without democracy we cannot solve anything,” Enrique de la Madrid Cordero, a prominent politician with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, said in a video posted on social media calling for people to join the protests.

The PRI held power continuously in Mexico for over 70 years.

Marches were organized in around 100 cities across the country, as well as other cities in the United States and Spain.

The president nevertheless remains very popular and his ally Claudia Sheinbaum seems ready to easily access the presidency. She leads the polls by a whopping 64% over her closest competitor, Xóchitl Gálvez, who received 31% of the vote.

Mr. López Obrador has repeatedly denounced the protests, telling reporters Friday that his critics don't care about democracy and are organizing a march to bring the corrupt back to power.

After the massive protest, the leader continued to lash out at critics, saying there would be no voter fraud in the elections and that he had not interfered in democratic processes.

“It’s their democracy…the democracy of the corrupt. What we want is for there to be a popular democracy. We do not want power without the people. They are the ones who are establishing anti-democracy with electoral fraud,” said Mr. López Obrador.

Associated Press correspondent Megan Janetsky contributed to this report.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116