MEXICO CITY — Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Mexico’s capital on Sunday to show support for President Manuel López Obrador, who before assuming the presidency led some of the country’s biggest protests country.
The “people’s march” marks the leftist leader’s four years in office and is a response to a large opposition march two weeks ago to protest against López Obrador’s proposal to reform the political system. election authority of the country.
The president himself led Sunday’s march through downtown Mexico City, accompanied by mariachi music, singing and a carnival atmosphere. Many of the participants were transported from provinces across Mexico on trips organized by the ruling Morena party, unions and social groups.
“Effective suffrage, effective democracy and no re-election,” he said in a speech after the march, in which he repeated slogans in favor of the poor and against oligarchy. politics.
The opposition asserted that many participants were forced to join the march, but López Obrador said he did not put “a penny” of the federal budget into the march. Respondents said they came voluntarily.
But in many cases, transportation is provided by local governments or politicians who want to be taken seriously within the ruling party.
Gaby Contreras, the former mayor of Morena, brought a group from Teoloyucan, north of the capital, and was the only person in her group allowed to speak. “We’re here to support the president.”
Pedro Sánchez, a bricklayer who arrived with his wife from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico, said his city authorities had organized everything. Hundreds of buses carrying participants lined the nearby streets.
“I came from Sonora by plane and I paid for my ticket,” said lawyer and López Obrador advocate, América Verdugo.
“It’s called an ‘institution’ and believe it or not, that’s what we’ve been doing since 2006,” said Nelly Muñoz, an administrator of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
That date alludes to the year López Obrador won 0.56% of the vote to win the presidency and denounced his defeat as fraud. Many supported him, launching a mass protest movement.
López Obrador was elected president 12 years later and his Morena party won four of the six races for governor in last year’s midterm elections, giving the ruling party control of 22 of the country’s 32 states. Mexico, an important advantage ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
But the government has been criticized for its increased use of the military, laws whose constitutionality has been questioned by courts and its support of controversial mega-projects. Some of the president’s supporters are now his critics.
Clara Jusidman, founder of INCIDE Social, an NGO specializing in democracy, development and human rights, said that what was important was not the number of people participating in the march, but “why they joined the marches.” family.”
She said many Mexicans feel compelled to participate because they receive money transfers from the government, which is the main way to support those in need. Others want to be favored by the party ahead of the 2024 local, state and presidential elections. The leading candidates to replace López Obrador as Morena’s presidential candidate in 2024 have emerged in 2024. march.
But there is no shortage of fans of the Mexican president, who maintain a high approval rating.
Alberto Cervantes, who had come from Los Angeles to join the march, had the president’s face tattooed and “AMLO 4T” tattooed on his arm. AMLO is a popular acronym for López Obrador’s name, and 4T refers to the “Fourth Transition,” which López Obrador says he is working on in Mexico.
Lorena Vaca, LGBTQ flag-flagger, said she came here to call for more attention to women and transgender people.
“There are things we don’t agree on… but that doesn’t mean we don’t support the Fourth Transition,” said Aurora Pedroche, a member of the Morena critical unit. asked about party leadership but supported the process. chairperson.
Mexico’s opposition has called for a large march because they fear López Obrador intends to use his proposed reforms to damage the independence of the electoral institute and make it valued by his party. than.
López Obrador repeatedly criticized the march and a few days later said he would call for his own march.
“You can’t change overnight and Andrés Manuel is not infallible,” says Pedroche. “But we’ve worked hard and what we don’t want is for this to be reversed.”
AP journalist Mark Stevenson contributed to this report.