This week has seen more clashes in Mexico City between activists against State repression, who have been designated “anarchist youth” by media reports, and increasingly violent police lines.
Clashes on Thursday saw at least 400 police deployed in the capital’s Polanco neighbourhood as young protesters took to the streets demanding an end to police violence and the release of political prisoners, including prominent labour lawyer Susana Prieto who was detained for “incitement” in Matamoros after advising wildcat strikers.
The rallies, which first kicked off on June 4th in the wake of the police killing of a bricklayer, Giovanni Lopez, have electrified the country with direct action and an immediately brutal police response which, most notoriously, saw a 15-year-old girl getting savagely attacked by armoured riot officers.
Tensions over police impunity have been high for some time, such as in March when the western city of Xalapa saw unrest with around 50 anarchists hitting buildings including the local cathedral, which was daubed with slogans highlighting institutional child abuse and State oppression. Women’s rights activism has emerged as a particularly militant trend in Mexico over recent years, one example being a Women’s March in the capital in March of this year which saw a church besieged by a large crowd.
But matters began to escalate markedly following the imposition of lockdown on March 23, with officers being sent in to enforce stay at home orders and break up street selling, often violently. The arrest of Lopez for not wearing a face mask, and his subsequent death from brain trauma with a bullet in his leg, proved the final straw in a list of brutal killings and beatings, with several cases being cited by the protesters:
- Giovanni López, killed by Jalisco police
- Carlos A. Navarro, arrested and killed by Xalapa police
- Oliver Lopez, killed by Tijuana police
- Melanie N., brutally beaten by CDMX police
- And for all our companions affected by police abuse.
Protests and rioting kicked off across the country, which police responded to by targeting people for harassment and even, again in Jalisco, using disappearances.
Anarchists have, reportedly, been particular targets. Writing about the rallies on Thursday, Bloque Negro México noted activists being followed after leaving a demo in Ciudad Juárez and intimidated outside their home. The student-led rally was in protest against regular police brutality, the planting drugs and even murdering of citizens.
Protesters carried placards accusing the force of being ′′Rapists, murderers in uniforms” and ′′La Chota [slang for the cops] does not care for me.”