Indigenous street merchants in Mexico City plan to appropriate a popular feminist chant to protest their removal from the street Sunday and the confiscation of their products.
Members of the Triqui indigenous group from Oaxaca’s La Mixteca region were removed from an area in the city’s historic center, and the goods they were selling were seized by security forces.
In response to the expulsion, the merchants blocked 20 de Noviembre avenue in protest on Monday, causing traffic chaos in the area.
Leader of the merchants guild of the Cuauhtémoc borough of Mexico City, Diana Sánchez Barrios, said that around 5,000 people would perform their own version of the feminist anthem A Rapist in Your Way in the zócalo on Monday afternoon.
“The only thing we’re asking for is social justice . . . the right to work. We’re self-employed and because of that it’s very important to have a legal framework so that they don’t keep abusing this right,” said Sánchez.
She said she hopes the performance would convince Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum to return to the dialogue table and offered a warning for what will happen if she refuses.
“On Thursday we’ll set up our booths in the zócalo, and although we know that they’re going to beat us up, we will not be moved. I want to make this clear,” she said.
Mexico City official Arturo Medina expressed regret for Sunday’s removal of the merchants and said their demands have been dealt with. He said they were offered other spaces in which to sell, but did not accept them.
“They were given the opportunity to sell at the Monument to the Revolution and in the Santo Domingo Plaza,” he said. “[But] They have not agreed to set up shop there. We have the infrastructure ready.”
“They want to be [in the zócalo], but we have other activities going on there . . .” he added.
He added that an officer accused of violence during the removal on Sunday has been suspended from his duties.