Mexico City’s first elected female mayor was sworn in yesterday and immediately announced that her government would dissolve the riot police.
Claudia Sheinbaum, a political ally of President López Obrador, said that starting January 1 the 4,000 officers in the force would be assigned to civil protection duties.
Speaking before lawmakers in the Mexico City Congress building, Sheinbaum said that disbanding the riot police fulfilled the third of six demands of the 1968 students’ movement that were formulated two months before the Tlatelolco student massacre.
“The police are there to protect the people and we don’t need a force to repress them,” she said.
“We agree with conviction with what our president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has expressed on several occasions: do not use the armed forces to repress the people . . . I have asked the Secretary of Public Security Jesús Orta to definitively abolish the riot police,” Sheinbaum added.
The new mayor, who won the July 1 election with 47% of the vote, pledged that she would fulfill all her campaign promises and echoed the words of López Obrador by saying, “we are not going to fail.”
Security meetings will start today, Sheinbaum said, as will the process to purchase 800 new buses and 100 new trolley buses.
The Morena party mayor renewed her pledge to invest more than 5 billion pesos (US $245.2 million) in the capital’s subway and light rail systems and said the tendering process to build cable car systems in impoverished city outskirts would begin in January.
Sheinbaum also committed to building new road infrastructure and housing for people who lost their homes in last year’s September 19 earthquake.
Eliminating gender violence and ensuring that justice is served in femicide cases will also be priorities of the new Mexico City government, she said.
López Obrador was the first sitting president to attend the swearing-in ceremony of a Mexico City mayor and raised Sheinbaum’s arm in triumph shortly after she took the oath of office.
“She’s going to govern very well because she has three virtues: she’s intelligent, she has convictions and, the most important thing, she’s honest,” he said.
Sheinbaum, an environmental engineer, previously served as chief of the southern Mexico City borough of Tlalpan and secretary of the environment during López Obrador’s administration of the capital between 2000 and 2005.
Her popularity among Mexico City residents was on show as she walked through the historic center of the capital shortly after being sworn in.
En route to the zócalo, the city’s central square, dozens of people approached the new mayor to greet her, request a photograph, ask for help or even offer her a blessing.
In the mayor’s office later in the day, Sheinbaum discovered that the windows are protected by armored doors but declared that they would be removed because “the mayor is not afraid.”
The only other female mayor who has governed Mexico City is Rosario Robles, who also served as a cabinet secretary in the previous federal government.
However, Robles only served as mayor for just over a year after being appointed as the replacement for Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, who unsuccessfully contested the 2000 presidential election.