On the eve of International Women’s Day, President López Obrador declared that he gets up at 5:00 a.m. every day to prevent violence against women.
“We are against violence and how could we not be against violence against women,” he said at his morning press conference Monday.
“Of course we are; we’re fighting for that every day. That’s why I get up at five in the morning every day – so that there’s no violence, to protect life, because the most important human right is the right to life,” López Obrador said.
The president and members of his cabinet attend a security meeting at 6:00 a.m. weekdays to discuss the latest incidents of violence and the government’s security strategy.
Femicides – the killing of women and girls on account of their gender – increased 2.7% last year to 1,004, while thousands of other women were victims of murder, rape and domestic violence.
The government has been criticized for not doing enough to combat gender-based violence, but López Obrador told reporters that people who claim that his administration is anti-women are guilty of distorting the truth.
“It’s a vile manipulation. By who? By those who don’t agree with the process of transformation we’re carrying out,” he said.
AMLO, as the president is best known, has been accused of having a woman problem, partially because he maintained his support for a would-be Morena party gubernatorial candidate in Guerrero despite that person – Félix Salgado – facing accusations of rape.
He was also criticized by women’s groups and others for erecting a three-meter high metal barrier around the National Palace in anticipation of last year’s International Women’s Day march in Mexico City. Critics dubbed the barrier “a macho wall of shame,” but the government insisted it was a “wall of peace” to prevent confrontation and damage to historic monuments.
López Obrador said Monday that the government has information that some groups intend to commit acts of vandalism and violence during Tuesday’s International Women’s Day march in the capital.
“I call on women who are going to protest tomorrow … to not resort to provocations and … violence. … We have information that they’re preparing … [to use] sledgehammers, blowtorches and Molotov cocktails,” he said.
“… That’s not defending women, it’s not even feminism. It’s a completely conservative, reactionary stance against us, against the policy of transformation,” López Obrador said.
There are “groups with other political purposes” that plan to participate in the march alongside feminist groups that are “legitimately fighting in favor of women,” he said.
“They’re seeking to confront us; they would like to vandalize the [National] Palace and the cathedral to project the image of a Mexico in flames because they don’t agree with the transformation we’re carrying out.”
This year’s women’s march in Mexico City is scheduled to depart the Angel of Independence monument at 4:30 p.m. and conclude in the zócalo, the central square adjacent to the National Palace and Metropolitan Cathedral. Marches will also be held in many other cities across the country, including Guadalajara, Monterrey and Puebla.
With reports from El Universal