By KELIN DILLON
Following the events of the women’s march through the streets of Mexico City on Monday, March 8, protesting gender violence, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who has been criticized by the feminist movement as being dismissive of its cause, said the female demonstrators were guilty of “hypocrisy and manipulation,” once again ignoring the larger issue at hand.
In his press conference on the morning of Tuesday, March 9, López Obrador addressed the previous day’s demonstration, claiming that very few women participated in the protests, despite the fact that, according to Reforma’s conservative estimates, over 20,000 women were present at the march.
AMLO also touted the fact that the government did not “fall into the trap of violence” he claimed the feminists are guilty of, despite the fact that police were reported to have thrown tear gas and firecrackers into the marching crowds and the visible use of apparently armed snipers on the roof the National Palace as an intimidation tactic against the protestors outside.
Instead, López Obrador thanked police for “stoically resisting attacks” and “not falling for provocation.”
Numbers from the government following Monday’s events say 62 police officers and 19 civilians were injured throughout the course of the day.
AMLO also praised the temporarily erected and controversial two-meter high barrier in front of the National Palace for “helping to stop the provocation” since it “was evident that (the protestors) wanted to vandalize the National Palace.”
Demonstrators managed to tear down six sections of the barrier during the protests Monday, according to media reports, which was fully dismantled by the government the next day after the end of the women’s protests.
The Monday protests, which coincided with International Women’s Day, were spurred on by Mexico’s high femicide rate, with more than 10 women in the country killed every day and 97 percent of those murders going unpunished. Controversy has also arisen over López Obrador’s close relationship with and defense of alleged rapist of at least three women and gubernatorial candidate for Guerrero, Félix Salgado Macedonio, adding an extra layer to the protestors anger.
Over 2,500 women sent a letter to AMLO ahead of Monday’s march requesting his help to create a protection plan for women in the nation against gender violence, and voicing their concern about his apparent dismissal of women’s rights issues in Mexico.
López Obrador claimed during his Tuesday press conference that the protestors were motivated by a “desire to weaken the government” and “weaken the president,” once again ignoring the widespread gender violence issue in the country by the protests about himself, instead of listening to the voices of Mexican women who desperately want to be heard, rather than silenced.
…March 10, 2021