President López Obrador issued a challenge to his detractors Tuesday: he will resign if 100,000 people attend a protest against him and opinion polls show that he has lost support.
“How are authoritarian governments overthrown? With the people, with large protests; people go out to the street – hundreds, thousands, millions. In my case, at the first protest of 100,000 and when I see that I don’t have support in the polls, [I’ll go] to Palenque, Chiapas. I won’t even wait for the revocation of mandate [vote],” the president told reporters at his morning news conference.
“I’ll see you there [in Palenque] because I have principles, I have ideals.”
López Obrador has a ranch in Palenque, a town in the northeast of Chiapas well known for its archaeological site of the same name, and has said previously that he would retire there if people come to the view that they don’t want him as president anymore.
“I’m not going to be like some presidents who have 10%, 15%, 20% approval in their countries and they’re still [in power],” he said in March. “How can one govern without the support of the citizens?”
To formally test his support, AMLO, as López Obrador is best known, intends to hold a referendum in 2022 to ask citizens if they want him to continue as president until the end of his six-year term in 2024.
A recent poll of polls collated by the website Oraculus shows that AMLO has an approval rating of 57% but the president has rejected polls that indicate his support is below 60%, describing them as biased.
An organization known as the National Anti-AMLO Front has held numerous protests in recent months and some of its members are currently camping out in Mexico City’s central square, the zócalo.
The group has denounced the federal government’s management of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic response to the crisis, and claim that López Obrador is installing a regime of 21st century socialism.
But the president appears unperturbed by the people currently protesting against him in the zócalo – their numbers are only in the hundreds, less than 1% of the 100,000 threshold AMLO set in order for him to resign.
However, should there be a demonstration by 100,000 people or more it would not be the first time in Mexico City’s active history of protests and demonstrations.
- A march in 1968 over the Tlatelolco massacre attracted an estimated 250,000 people.
- A march for peace in 2004 was attended by 200,000, according to conservative estimates, and 350,000 by others.
- Another march calling for a stop to violence was held in 2008 and drew 200,000, according to estimates by police.
- More recently, official figures put the attendance at a March 8 march against gender violence at 80.000.
Mexico News Daily