Crime & Justice

March against police brutality leads to violence in Mexico City

Mexico City, June 8 (efe-epa).- Around 100 protesters, the majority of them hooded, mobilized in Mexico City on Monday to demand justice for police brutality in the country.

Destruction of public property and several commercial premises were reported during the demonstrations.

The protesters toured the iconic Paseo de la Reforma avenue in the capital’s center – from the Angel of Independence to the Zocalo plaza – to demand justice for the death of Giovanni Lopez after his arrest in May and the alleged assault of a young woman by police on Friday.

The 16-year-old, identified as Melanie, was allegedly beaten by police officers in Mexico City during a march over the death of Lopez in police custody after he was reportedly detained over not wearing a mask.

Unlike Friday’s incident, during the march there were no clashes between demonstrators and security personnel, who stayed on the sidelines other than to prevent the group from accessing Madero Street, the main road of the capital’s historic center, which was cut off.

The hooded protesters threatened the media present, asking them not to film, and even threw stones and sprayed fire extinguishers and paint at camera persons and photographers.

Due to this and to the lack of banners or flags that would identify organizing groups, as well as the refusal of the participants to speak publicly, the media were not able to understand the demands of the march and had to maintain distance from more violent groups.

The demonstrators looted bank branches, food stores and other commercial premises, and demolished the barriers that protected buildings such as the Palace of Fine Arts or the Guardiola building of the Bank of Mexico.

However, after reaching Zocalo plaza, the march dispersed after some members asked that no more looting be committed.

They did not issue any explanatory manifesto about their intentions or the demands of the march.

Members of Marabunta group, the city’s National Human Rights Commission and some officials from the capital’s government were present during the march and although they did not stop the destruction, managed to avoid confrontations.

The march was the result of alleged police brutality towards Melanie, who received blows to her head and body on Friday during the protest organized against police violence in the case of Lopez.

Lopez died a month ago but the case came to light last week after a video was shared on social media showing police officers with assault rifles forcing the 30-year-old bricklayer into a pickup truck in the town of Ixtlahuacan de Los Membrillos, 40 kilometers from Guadalajara.

“Just for not a wearing a mask?” asked a witness. “He was resisting,” answered an officer.

His family later tracked him down in hospital, dead with a bullet wound to the foot. An autopsy revealed he died of blunt trauma to the head.

Social media platforms were flooded with the hashtag #JusticiaParaGiovanni (#JusticeForGiovanni), mirroring the protests over the death of George Floyd in the United States.

Organizations such as Terremoto Feminista (Feminist Earthquake) condemned the infringement of the parameters related to the human rights of youth.

Spokesperson Rosa Salazar told EFE that the laws on youth rights in Mexico City were not being upheld and Giovanni’s surrender implied no need for the use of force.

The group Politicamente Incorrectas (Politically Incorrect) expressed to EFE its condemnation of recent police brutality, saying that it “shows the systematic abuse of the police force while in fact they should have been guaranteeing the safety of the citizens,” according to Blanca Juarez, activist of the group.

Although she assured that her group was not in favor of violence to seek change, they understood that “the rage is accumulating and there is a point when it explodes.”

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