To avoid large numbers of people gathering President López Obrador has urged residents of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, not to attend events he will preside over on Friday to inaugurate infrastructure projects in the northern border city.
His plea on Friday morning came after thousands of people flocked to an event Thursday in the city of Matamoros.
Speaking at a news conference in Reynosa, López Obrador asked residents to stay at home and instead follow his events via traditional and social media.
He said that social distancing recommendations were not observed at events he attended Thursday and warned that it was “very risky” for people to gather in large numbers.
“So, I want to ask the citizens of Reynosa … to allow us to communicate with them through the media, both conventional media and [social] networks. … Stay at home and you’ll be able to find out about the projects that will be inaugurated,” López Obrador said.
“We can’t be careless, we have to maintain a healthy distance and avoid massive [numbers of] infections for the good of everyone.”
As an additional deterrent to the risk of coronavirus infection, the president declared that anyone who shows up at his events today will be dubbed a “conservative,” a term he uses regularly to disparage those who oppose him and his government.
But he added that if people want to go to his events, “of course” they have the freedom to do so. “It’s a respectful call to everyone [not to go],” López Obrador said.
On Thursday, more than 2,000 people gathered in the street and atop buildings outside a new sports center that was officially opened by the president.
Members of the large crowd, many of whom were wearing Morena party t-shirts and waving flags emblazoned with the ruling party’s logo, failed to distance themselves from each other while gathering outside the center, located in a poor area of Matamoros.
Many of the attendees were not wearing face masks even though Tamaulipas authorities have made them mandatory.
López Obrador spoke for just three minutes at the event due to the presence of the large crowd and their failure to follow health protocols.
“I feel ashamed, very ashamed because this event shouldn’t have been held. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic and we have to take care of ourselves so I’m not going to take long because I want you to keep a healthy distance and to clear away. I say it to you with complete respect, we have to look after ourselves, health comes first,” he said.
“I know that there is a lot of passion, a lot of desire to participate but we have a lot of time ahead and we will continue to meet with each other,” López Obrador said.
“I will return with you soon. I want to be over there with you, hugging you, taking photos because I truly love you. I have deep love for the people of Mexico but … we can’t be together, we have to keep our distance because we have to look after our health. A virtual hug! [I send you] a hug as if we were [really] hugging, just as affectionate,” he said.
Also among the president’s loyal supporters were protesting health sector workers and farmers, the newspaper Reforma reported.
Hundreds of the president’s supporters also showed up at an earlier event at a new market in Matamoros, which was inaugurated by López Obrador, and at a new family health care clinic in Reynosa he toured late Thursday afternoon.
The president was criticized early in the pandemic for continuing to hold campaign-style rallies and hugging and kissing his supporters while health authorities were calling for people to practice social distancing.
He stopped touring the country for about two months while federally-mandated coronavirus restrictions were in place but was back on the road by early June, traveling to the Yucatán Peninsula to inaugurate construction of his signature infrastructure project, the Maya Train railroad.
Source: Reforma (sp)