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A whole country on one street

Yesterday I attended one of the largest (if not the largest at all) political demonstrations in Mexico’s history. As I have previously mentioned in my blog, the federal government wants to get rid of the strongest presidential candidate for the 2006 elections - And, although we have gone a long way from the 1970s politics, with a strong and authoritarian one-party system, the temptation to fall back to it (or to a very similar emulation of it) is too strong. López Obrador was impeached on April 7. Now, there is no certain opinion on whether, besides the juridical immunity, he lost his governorship on our city - Most jurists point out that he will only lose his authority once a judge declares there is a penal process against him. Right now, around 9 million people (the inhabitants of Distrito Federal, roughly one third of the inhabitants of Mexico City) don’t have a local government. Nadezhda and I spent the previous night together with Irma and Susana, printing around 70 T-shirts stating We are building a democracy, please excuse the inconvenience. We finished at about 5:30AM, finally went to sleep at 6:00, and one hour later we woke up to get everything ready and in place. We then left, together with my father, to meet with our group of friends at the National Auditorium. I do consider myself as a supporter of López Obrador. I do want to see him as our next president. Yes, he has done some very wrong things, but overall he is a much cleaner candidate than most other politicians. However, we walked together with many people who were not in favour of López Obrador - People who just wanted our political rights to be respected. I was surprised at my father being so enthusiast about this demonstration, as he has been completely apolitical (out of lack of trust in the system - he only got his voting card two years ago as it is right now the only universally accepted ID document we Mexicans have, and has not voted in over 30 years). I was also surprised at walking next to my friend negrabarba, a strong critic of anything political. update: I just read even my right-winged friend Pop was there. If you talk Spanish, take a look at this entry in Cofradia. How many people were we? Nobody will ever know… This was, yes, something huge - Even the most right-wing media (such as Monitor) acknowledge we were over 600,000. In my favorite newspaper (and, no wonder, a newspaper often seen as the left-wing official divulgation media) says we were 1,200,000 people demonstrating against this abuse of authority. This number is also held by El Universal, which also compares the number to the population of the state of Zacatecas or to Mauritania. I laughed at Crónica’s coverage, stating in whatever way they could that this was not that impressive - They just compared a picture of this demonstration to a picture of last june’s demonstration against insecurity, widely perceived as a right-wing demonstration - I don’t understand what they tried to show. Both were huge, and we cannot really compare them… But I know of many people who attended both, in the end both basically demand our rights as citizens. I do remember exhaustive media coverage back then, compared to basically none this time (the attention was all directed to the new Pope’s first mass, my family says only ocassional shots of the demonstration were aired). Whatever, let’s say we were 900,000, a middle point… I do have some numbers to share (you can take a look at the Reforma map to locate the points I mention, starting from the extreme left (Auditorio Nacional) - I doubt the map is on scale, but it will give you a rough idea), as we were at the very end of the group: We started at the National Auditorium, a long way behind the supposed meeting point (the Anthropology Museum). By the time we started moving, the head of the group was already at Zócalo (as we heard via the security personnel’s radios). Shortly before we reached the Monumento a los Niños Héroes, the speeches began, indicating the Zócalo was basically full. We kept slowly moving. López Obrador’s speech finished when we were passing by Ángel de la Independencia. That means, at least five kilometers packed with people. We kept walking until we got to Av. Juárez, and went back home to rest. So, in the end, one out of every 25 inhabitants of this city took part in this demonstration. It was not, as it was planned, a silent demonstration - of course, that’d be impossible being it that large. But anyway, if one million people with their feet aching cannot make our federal government rethink its virtual coup, we will keep moving, working for this country to move forward, to get out of the dark ages in which it still lives. Update thanks to Natorro: Around the world: Toulouse, Berlin, New York, Sydney, London, San Francisco, Brazil, Barcelona. ¿Anybody else? update2: Visit Mauricio José Schwarz’s blog.


Gaby 2005-04-25 13:04:20

RE: A whole country on one street

Desafortunadamente mucha gente confunde una lucha por la ciudad y la democracia con el apoyo a la precandidatura de Lopez. Supongo que generar esta identificacion ha sido su mayor acierto.

Eso si, un prirredista como Lopez, no me parece mas limpio que otros del PRI o desertores que han llegado al PRD. Su postura de martir ante la "crueldad" del gobierno solo me parecen un gesto con el que muchos mexicanos se identifican y que el en su caracter de protagonista politico explota a la maravilla.

¿Acaso es imposible pensar que sus años al frente de la ciudad fueron parte de su pre-pre-pre-campaña electoral 2006?

Despues de todo, Lopez no deja de ser un politico, y que ademas pertenecio al PRI.

No a Lopez. No al desafuero. Si a la democracia.

Gaby 2005-04-25 13:14:46

RE: A whole country on one street

Sorry! Le di recargar y se volvio a postear!

Gunnar 2005-04-26 18:04:49

RE: A whole country on one street

No te preocupes, ya quité las repeticiones :)