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Mexican women protest killing of women as president warns against violence

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Mexican women protest killing of women as president warns against violence

MEXICO CITY – An International Women’s Day rally in Mexico drew thousands of protesters on Tuesday, marching against violence and streaming to the presidential palace and national monuments in the capital, which closed with giant metal fences amid fears of unrest. was done.

President Andres Manuel López Obrador, who has been accused of not doing enough to stop a rise in feminism, urged calm, warning that the protests could turn violent.

Mexico City police said they had seized Molotov cocktails, weapons such as bats and hammers and fireworks from protesters in the afternoon. Local news media reported that two demonstrators were injured after the glass swung at a bus stop, which crashed on them.

Authorities erected a protective metal barrier around the National Palace, the seat of government where the presidential family lives, and other historic buildings before the protests.

Later on Tuesday night, video footage shared online showed a fire broke out at the doors of the government palace in Monterrey, the state capital of Nuevo León, when marchers entered the building, according to local news reports. There was no immediate official confirmation of any damage. Anti-riot police officers and firefighters were deployed on the spot.

Demonstrators wrote, “Mexico Femicide” in white letters on a black metal circle in front of the National Palace, which faces the Zocalo main square, the stage for several major demonstrations.

Last year, women marching on International Women’s Day also clashed with police at the barricades around the National Palace. Protesters attempted to break down a metal wall set up to protect government property from vandalism, prompting officials to spray pepper.

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According to government figures, Mexico recorded 969 female murders last year, up slightly from 949 in 2020. Activists say the actual figure is likely much higher, and some estimate that as many as 10 women a day are killed because of their gender.

“Women, united, will never be defeated,” said a group of protesters, waving white flags as they approached the National Palace on Tuesday. Others, wearing purple bandanas for the region’s feminist movement or green stripes in support of abortion rights, marched down one of Mexico City’s main streets holding banners and posters with feminist slogans.

Frida Moreno, 21, a student who said abusive teachers had spoiled her upbringing, said she believed she had a duty to march so that other young girls had similar experiences. to be saved from.

Ms Moreno said on the verge of tears: “Although I feel privileged to be in a safe zone, no one can guarantee that one day I will not disappear.”

Mr López Obrador, who appointed women to half of his cabinet posts, has dismissed activists’ claims that he is not interested in tackling the killing of women, saying progress has been made to protect women’s rights. Has been.

Asked Tuesday morning whether the protests could turn violent, as a government official had predicted, the president nodded.

“There is infiltration of the feminist movement in general by conservative groups,” she said, noting that “using violence for political purposes” was wrong.

The Mexico City government said it would deploy dozens of paramedics as well as a women’s police force.

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