Hundreds of Federal Police officers protested in Mexico City today to reject their incorporation into the National Guard, arguing that their salaries will be cut and they will lose benefits.
In a show of collective dissent, the officers gathered this morning outside police headquarters in the borough of Iztapalapa.
The officers are demanding that their current benefits be maintained – including an operational bonus of almost 10,000 pesos per month when deployed to dangerous states, that they be paid a minimum salary of 30,000 pesos per month (US $1,600) and that their levels of seniority, or ranks, be respected.
The police also voiced opposition to being evaluated by military personnel and having to live in military barracks while serving in the National Guard, a new security force that formally began operations this week.
In addition, they are demanding the elimination of polygraph tests and that working hours as stipulated under the Federal Labor Law be respected.
“We’re tired of so much abuse. They want to send us to Chiapas or send us to other places and they don’t want to respect seniority . . . If they want to dismiss us, dismiss us . . .” said officer Julio Conrado.
During the protest, the National Guard’s operations coordinator arrived at police headquarters where she was surrounded by the protesting officers.
Patricia Trujillo – who the officers labeled a “traitor” – tried to appease the police by offering them the opportunity to meet with Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo.
Speaking at his morning press conference today, President López Obrador rejected claims that Federal Police officers who refuse to join the National Guard will be dismissed.
“. . . No one is going to be dismissed, they’re going to have the same salaries, the same benefits, no one is going to be forced to go into another [security] force,” he said.
“The process that is taking place, in which Federal Police officers can go into the National Guard, is voluntary . . . If they meet the requirements they can belong to the National Guard, if they don’t meet them . . . they’re not going to be dismissed because there are other tasks that are going to continue to be carried out,” López Obrador added.
This afternoon, Secretary Durazo offered dialogue to the disgruntled police officers, explaining that he has already ordered the establishment of a government commission whose members will meet with them to discuss their concerns and resolve “the requests and anxieties.”
Durazo stressed that officers’ salaries and benefits will be respected and reiterated that joining the National Guard is voluntary.
“There should be no concern . . . We’re a government concerned with social well-being and we have to concern ourselves with those who provide service to society such as Federal Police officers, we’re not going to hurt anyone . . .”