Thursday, July 18, 2024

Mexico City march protesting violence against women ends with vandalism

A police station was set on fire and a bus station was vandalized Friday night at the end of a women’s protest in Mexico City against gender violence.

About 2,000 protesters, most of whom were women, gathered at the plaza outside the Insurgentes Metro station yesterday evening to attend a rally calling for the prosecution of police who allegedly raped a woman and a 17-year-old girl.

They also called for the declaration of a gender alert in the capital.

Women from several collectives participated in the protest, the second this week after a march Monday that culminated in an attack on the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office.

The protest movement has gained momentum via social media, where the hashtags #NoMeCuidanMeViolan (They Don’t Look After Me, They Rape Me) and #ExigirJusticiaNoEsProvocación (Demanding Justice is not Provocation) have been used thousands of times.

Emotions ran high during Friday’s march.

The latter spread after Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and Attorney General Ernestina Godoy labeled Monday’s protest a “provocation.”

That protest came after Godoy said last week that police officers accused of raping a 17-year-girl in the borough of Azcapotzalco had not been charged because authorities are waiting for the girl to identify the perpetrators.

Sheinbaum announced on Wednesday that six officers had been suspended in connection with the case. Another officer was arrested on charges that he raped a woman at a Mexico City museum.

At the end of yesterday’s rally, one group of women smashed a glass wall at the Insurgentes Metrobús station and started a fire inside. They also graffitied buses that continued to stop at the station until it was closed.

The newspaper Milenio reported that the women clashed with camera operators and photojournalists who were recording the vandalism and in some cases damaged their equipment. A reporter from news station ADN 40 was knocked to the ground while transmitting live.

Another group of women left the Insurgentes plaza to march to the Florencia police station in the capital’s Zona Rosa district. Along the way, they smashed the glass facades of stores and banks and graffitied walls and doors, Milenio said.

Some protesters turned to vandalism to make their point.
Some protesters turned to vandalism to make their point.

The protesters vandalized the exterior of the police station and broke inside, where they set a fire in an area where police files were stored.

When firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze, they were met with violence and prevented from entering. One firefighter was reportedly injured.

Protesters subsequently moved on to the Angel of Independence monument on Reforma avenue, allowing firefighters to enter the police station to put out the fire. Women clashed with reporters and police on Reforma and vandalized the base of the Angel monument.

The protest concluded at around 11:00pm, Milenio said, at which time paramedics arrived to treat people who had been injured, 14 of whom were police officers. Six were taken to hospital, where they were reported in stable condition.

At about 10:00pm, the Mexico City government issued a statement in response to the protest.

“About today’s demonstration, we respect that the majority protested peacefully. For them, the doors of the Mexico City government are always open for frank dialogue. However, the violence of a few, which only sullies the defense of women’s rights, cannot be justified. Violence is not combated with violence,” the statement said.

A protester drums a marching beat.

The government reiterated that it will not “fall into the provocation” of using force against the protesters, which it charged is “what they are seeking.”

It also said it has launched investigations into the acts of aggression against journalists and others, and the vandalism of buildings.

“We call on those who are legitimately fighting for the defense of human rights and the eradication of violence to help to generate a climate of peace so that together we can build a safe city . . .” the statement concluded.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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