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After 2 days of women’s protests, López Obrador rejects changing strategy

'We're going to reinforce the same strategy of attending to the causes of violence'

After two days of huge protests by women against gender-based violence, President López Obrador said on Tuesday that the government’s strategy to combat femicides – the killing of females on account of their gender – would not change.

Responding to a reporter who asked him whether the marches to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday and the national women’s strike on Monday would force the government to rethink its approach to tackling the high number of murders of girls and women, López Obrador responded:

“No – on the contrary, we’re going to reinforce the same strategy of attending to the causes of violence: finding ways to live in a better society, taking care of young people, looking after the countryside, [making sure] there that there is no unemployment, that there are good salaries, that family breakdown is avoided, that values are strengthened.”

The president said that the strategy would resist the attacks by conservatives, a blanket term he uses to describe anyone who opposes his administration.

“They [the conservatives] are very opportunistic. … They latch onto any movement, as happened now. … Suddenly they’ve become feminists,” López Obrador said.

“This very hypocritical conservatism puts on a feminist mask and says: ‘We’re going to get rid of the government.’ I’m not making anything up, … there is proof,” he said.

Reiterating his support for his so-called “hugs, not bullets” security strategy, López Obrador asserted that “you can’t confront violence with violence, you can’t put out fire with fire, you can’t confront evil with evil – evil has to be confronted by doing good.”

The president charged that truly transformative “movements” – he claims that his government is carrying out a “fourth transformation” of Mexican society (after independence from Spain, the 19th-century liberal reform and the Mexican revolution) – are “peaceful movements, especially in recent times.”

Change can come “peacefully, without breaking windows, without attacking anyone,” López Obrador said, apparently referring to recent feminist marches that have been marred by vandalism and violence.

Women, however, are growing increasingly angry both with the high levels of violence against them and the president’s response to the issue. Many have labeled him tone-deaf, out of touch, insensitive and no different from his predecessors.

At one of his morning press conferences, López Obrador expressed annoyance when asked a question about femicides, stating that it overshadowed his plans to hold a raffle to raise funds to maintain the unwanted presidential plane. At others, he has asked women not to paint on the walls and doors of the National Palace and blamed gender violence on “neoliberal policies” implemented by past governments.

On Tuesday, the president did take the time to announce the latest statistics on the murder of women, telling reporters that there were 587 victims between January 1 and March 9, a figure that equates to 8.5 deaths per day.

On Sunday, when large numbers of women marched in cities across Mexico, there were 11 murders of women, López Obrador said, while on Monday, when millions of females skipped work and school, there were 10.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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