Protests mark Mexican Independence Day celebrations
The discontent around Mexico’s presidential election results continued late Saturday night, as protests sprang up at the country’s Independence Day festivities in the nation’s capital and various other cities.
In Mexico City, outgoing President Felipe Calderón’s delivery of the traditional Grito de la Independencia, demonstrators shined laser pointers toward him and chanted “Fraud!” during the playing of the national anthem. They also chanted “Mexico without PRI,” a reference to the Institutional Revolutionary Party and the country’s next president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Peña Nieto, the former governor of the state of Mexico, was confirmed as the country’s next president in July following a heavily-disputed national election that included a recounting of more than half of the ballots used in the election.
The Mexican television network Terra reported that demonstrators also carried banners saying, “Put Peña and Calderón on trial” and “failed state.”
The network also reported that protesters in other states, including Hidalgo and Puebla, said authorities apprehended and attacked them during their demonstrations.
“They did not respect our right to freedom of expression,” one Puebla demonstrator told the newsmagazine Proceso. “The soldiers came solely to repress us. They did not ask us to leave peacefully. Instead they drove us out by force, with clubs, with their fists, kicking us.”
Puebla state officials told the magazine they had not only asked the protesters three times to leave the celebration in the state capitol, but had gotten statements from them saying they were not hurt. Protesters in Puebla said they would file a complaint with the country’s National Human Rights Council. Video also surfaced online of an alleged attack by paid PRI “hit men” (sic) against demonstrators in Tijuana Friday.
Calling itself “Yo Soy 132” (I Am 132), the movement against Peña Nieto’s incoming administration began as a May 11 protest at his appearance at a Mexico City university, where 131 students denounced his actions as governor in 2006 sanctioning force against a demonstration in the city of San Salvador Atenco, and blaming him for both the deaths of two protesters and the alleged rape of 26 women committed by authorities.
Watch video of the Mexico City protest below, as uploaded by “AsambleaYoSoy132” Saturday.