16 August 2006

Savage Pigwatch: Mexican Federales Attack Peaceful Protesters in Mexico City

In his 16 August AP dispatch, Ioan Grillo ominously reports on the recent developments in Mexico City over the popular demand to count every vote in the recent Presidential election:
A potentially dangerous confrontation between the Mexican army and thousands of protesters loomed larger Tuesday as federal officials insisted on holding annual Independence Day celebrations on the same streets occupied for weeks by supporters of the leftist presidential candidate.
Grillo is right: with the assent of Mexico City's political 'leadership', the Federal pigs seem determined to provoke a confrontation between themselves and the thousands of people who have taken to the streets demanding that the Mexican government count the ballots of the July 2 election. This demand for a military parade regardless of whether the votes have been tallied lays the foundation for an Independence Day bloodbath in Mexico City next month.
Mexicans celebrate their independence from Spain every year... on the night of Sept. 15... as multitudes gather in the central square, or Zócalo. The next day, the Mexican army assembles in the square and marches down wide Reforma Avenue, to the cheers of thousands of families.

This year, the celebrations will be impossible unless protest camps are cleared.
The Financial Times quotes Manuel Camacho, "one of Mr López Obrador’s key strategists," who argues that "the struggle remains centred on tangible facts of fraud. The latest proof of that is the long list of 'irregularities' that have surfaced from a partial recount of the votes ordered last week by Mexico’s electoral tribunal."
He says the partial recount has already shown that a huge number of ballot boxes contained more votes than there were people on the corresponding electoral register. “If the tribunal annulled those ballot boxes – a step they are obliged to take legally – Andres Manuel would win the election by almost 29,000 votes,” he says.
Mexico's Federal pigs could care less about political maneuvering or vote counts. They respond to raw power, pure and simple. And while politicians opposed to counting the votes made their proclamations, another 16 August wire service piece reported that Federal police exerted that power by attacking a protest opposing the pronouncement outside of Congress:
Hundreds of riot police in black body armor sealed Congress with roadblocks and a metal wall Tuesday to keep leftist protesters away after a clash over Mexico's disputed presidential election.

Federal police took control of all the streets around Congress in a show of force to prevent protesters from blockading the building ahead of President Vicente Fox's state of the nation speech there Sept. 1.

About 15 legislators from the left-wing party whose presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, narrowly lost the July 2 election were among those hurt Monday when police tore down tents in their partially built camp, tear-gassed protesters and drove them back with clubs.
"This is a message to intimidate us, but we are not cowards, Mr. President," Andrés Manuel López Obrador told a rally later. "We won't allow ourselves to be provoked." But unfortunately, faced with a situation where Mexico City's police - who answer to an ally of López Obrador - refuse to attack protesters, Mexico's Federal Pigs violently escalated the conflict, promising far greater bloodshed in the coming days and weeks.

The pigs' attack against the people on Tuesday comes on the heels of a recent speech by López Obrador stating that he and his supporters will intensify their protests against the fraudulent election. In Tuesdays Financial Times, Adam Thomson quotes selections from a recent López Obrador speech in Mexico City:
Never again will we allow them to install an illegal and illegitimate government in our country... Here and now begins a new period in Mexico...with the sovereign power of the people we will undertake the changes and transformations that this country needs.
López Obrador's supporters - along with some new allies including "some followers of Sub-commander [sic] Marcos, the masked guerrilla leader who led a 1994 uprising in Mexico’s poverty-stricken southern state of Chiapas" - seem prepared for and committed to intensify the struggle with new tactics.
These included mounting protests at every one of Mr Calderón’s public acts, and holding another rally in the Zócalo on September 16 - the same day that Mexico’s armed forces traditionally parade in the square to mark the country’s independence. He also said his blockade of Paseo de la Reforma, a central avenue in Mexico City, could last for years.
López Obrador is deluded if he honestly believes that this crisis will resolve itself in his favor so long as his supporters remain deferential to ruthless, barbaric pigs. But such is the nature of reformism.

Yet in the course of struggle, as crises emerge that demand immediate action, reformism tends to equivocate itself into nothingness. As AMLO's supporters confront the material reality of forces aligned against them, they must face it not with reformist illusions but steadfastness, brutal truth, and determined action. Otherwise, reaction will triumph in yet another bloodbath.
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