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dissident party members march on PRI headquarters in Mexico City. Armed with clubs, dissident party members march on PRI headquarters in Mexico City.

Internal divisions in once-powerful ruling party leave 3 wounded

A protest outside Institutional Revolutionary Party headquarters turned violent

There were divisions within the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after its rout in the 2018 elections, and the most recent vote did nothing to soothe angry members.

A 20-year-old man was wounded by a gunshot and two other people received blows to the head in violent scenes at party headquarters in Mexico City Tuesday.

A 120-strong, six-hour protest that demanded the resignation of leader Alejandro Moreno due to the party’s poor showing in the June 6 elections ended in a bloody altercation. The party leadership and a rival faction blamed each other for the violence.

The former blamed the ex-governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and Nallely Gutiérrez, a one-time PRI federal deputy, for provoking violence. “They are part of an armed command that came to attack our members … On the orders of Ulises Ruiz and Nallely Gutiérrez an armed commando … [attacked] hundreds of militants who were peacefully gathered supporting the leadership,” read official Twitter posts.

Moreno continued his criticism on his personal Twitter account. “They represent everything that the PRI does not want … These are the practices that have no place in the PRI,” he wrote.

Rival party members Ulises Ruiz, left, and president Alejandro Moreno.
Rival party members Ulises Ruiz, left, and president Alejandro Moreno.

However, Ruiz blamed Moreno and other party leaders, and said they were “responsible for any aggression suffered by the militants who are peacefully holding the PRI to account,” he wrote.

“This is a matter of politics,” he added.

Protesters hold Moreno responsible for leading the party to defeat in eight races for governor in the midterm elections.

Paramedics treated two people at the scene, a man and a woman, who had suffered blows to the head. The man who was shot was wounded in the back and was taken to hospital. His current condition is unknown.

The clash triggered the deployment of 150 police officers. Security officials said video footage was being reviewed to find out who had fired the shots.

Enmity between Ruiz and Moreno dates back to at least 2019, when the former unsuccessfully contested the party leadership.

Ruiz was at the center of a violent conflict while governor of Oaxaca in 2006. During six months of protests by members of the CNTE teachers union and others, there were 30 extrajudicial killings, 311 arbitrary detentions, 381 wounded, 248 cases of torture and the forced disappearance of two people, according to the findings of a 2016 truth commission.

The commission found Ruiz responsible for the crimes but he was never prosecuted.

With reports from El País

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