Protest Marches in Mexico City Mark International Labor Day
By MARK LORENZANA
Thousands of workers and members of different unions marched toward downtown Mexico City’s main square Zócalo on the morning of Monday, May 1, to celebrate this year’s International Labor Day. Similar marches also took place in other Mexican states, namely, Puebla, Morelos, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Tabasco and Sinaloa.
In Mexico City, two separate marches started in the vicinity of the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) and the Angel of Independence monument, which eventually converged in the Zócalo at around 9 a.m.
Among the groups that joined the Mexico City march included a contingent of telephone operators’ unions, miners’ unions, members of the Mexican news agency Notimex and unions from the Mexico City Metro, among others. They carried placards that said, “this march is not a party, it is a fight and a protest” and “whoever governs, rights are defended” while marching toward the Zócalo.
As Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) offered a three-hour official speech from the National Palace to mark the holiday, teachers’ groups likewise joined the march and demanded that their collective contracts be respected and their working conditions be improved. Groups composed of flight attendants and pilots, as well as university workers, also joined the march.
Workers affiliated with the Revolutionary Confederations of Workers and Peasants (CROC), the Regional Mexican Workers (CROM) and Workers and Peasants from the State of Mexico (Cosem) were easily identified through their shirts and caps, as well as their respective banners.
The Aviation Flight Attendants Union Association (ASSA) demanded swift action against labor discrimination, and held up signs that said, “We are good flight attendants. No to discrimination,” and in the case of the Metro workers, they demanded an adequate supply of tools and spare parts.
The march in Puebla was headed by Governor Sergio Salomón Céspedes, along with various union leaders; in Cuernavaca, Morelos, people started the march at 8:20 a.m. In Mexico City in particular, several main thoroughfares were closed to traffic due to the protests, mainly the Paseo de la Reforma Avenue.
While the protest action included the usual speeches, an editorial by Mexican daily newspaper El Universal pointed out the lack of opportunities for women leaders to speak, as majority of the speeches were given by male union leaders.
“In the Zócalo of Mexico City, the only woman in the march who spoke was the leader of the Notimex workers, Adriana Urrea Torres,” said the El Universal editorial.
“The rest of the speeches were given by male leaders: Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, Francisco Hernández Juárez, Isaías González Cuevas, Luis Oscar Moreno, Rodolfo González and Carlos Hugo Morales, among others. Of course, they said in their speeches that one of their priorities is the defense of women’s rights.”