Some Mexico City police officers say they feel powerless and have lost respect as a result of orders from Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum not to act against people behaving aggressively or committing acts of vandalism during protests.
Officers in the historic center of the capital told the newspaper La Jornada that they were targets of abuse during a protest on Monday in which participants committed acts of vandalism, looted stores and acted aggressively against officers.
The officers said they were told by passersby they were useless and lazy because they failed to respond.
One policewoman said “we can’t do anything because of orders from the mayor” and complained that the Mexico City government had “protected” the teenage girl – who admitted to throwing rocks at police before she was kicked in the head by officers – “but sent its police to jail.”
An auxiliary police officer told La Jornada that he was disappointed by the order to do nothing against troublemakers at such protests.
Una vez más, estos p1nch3s vándalos haciendo destrozos so pretexto de manifestarse contra una desaparición en GDL??? Ó sea, no mamen! pic.twitter.com/NpzfiphIu2
— Clint Is Good (@axtzco63) June 8, 2020
“Even foreigners complain about it. One person, I think he was from Spain, told me: ‘This doesn’t happen in my country.’”
“Senior citizens, young people, everyone insults us” for allowing aggression and vandalism to go unpunished, the officer said.
Another said the order “not to do anything” is unreasonable because some people attend protests with the specific aim of attacking officers.
A policewoman said officers are given orders not to violate the human rights of protesters but officers are not afforded the same protection.
“What about our rights? Who’s looking after them?” she asked.
For his part, President López Obrador condemned the vandalism and aggression during Monday’s march, which was held to protest against police aggression toward a 16-year-old girl at another protest — it too was against police brutality — last Friday.
The president proposed a new strategy to prevent such violence.
“There was a protest of young people yesterday [Monday] and about 100 people, 150 at the most, wreaked havoc and the Mexico City police didn’t intervene because the mayor is acting with tolerance and not falling into provocation. … They provoke and provoke and provoke because what they want is a clash. We have to find a way [to avoid that], create a kind of peace group, without weapons but well protected,” he said.
López Obrador also said that people who commit acts of violence at protests should be punished.
“The police have instructions not to respond [to aggression] but they’re attacked with force, [the protesters] carry sticks with nails in them and it’s a provocation. A lot of police … are beaten and it must be punished.”
The arrest of protesters triggered a demonstration outside the Jalisco Attorney General’s Office last Friday and some of those in attendance were abducted by police who intended to kill them, according to Governor Enrique Alfaro.
The governor said that the quick response of his attorney general to the abductions had saved the lives of protesters, some of whom were abandoned outside Guadalajara after enduring hours of terror while held in police vehicles.