Police Shoot Down Feminist Demonstration in Cancún
"Now, if mothers are going to be worth it 'pinches' women," shouted several armed agents, according to some witnesses.
A protest had been called on Monday by the Quintana Roo Feminist Network because of the femicides of three women over the weekend. The last of them, "Alexis," had disappeared on Nov. 7, and her body was found on Sunday inside a plastic bag in a neighborhood in Cancún (Mexico).
The demonstrators, about 2,000 young people asking for justice for Alexia, gathered in front of the Municipal Palace of the city, and set fire to some lumber in front of the doors to the building, and broken some windows with the pretense of accessing its interior to ask for explanations from the authorities.
Then, 50 hooded agents with heavy weapons and bulletproof vests came to the plaza and charged the crowd. At the sound of whistling bullets, the crowd ran terrified as police continued shooting as they chased. Up to four journalists covering the protest were wounded. Among them, was a reporter from the newspaper La Verdad, Roberto Becerril, who was shot in the shoulder, and Cecilia Solis, from Radio Turquesa, who was shot in the foot.
According to the numerous witnesses, the agents arrested, beat up, and seized the cameras and mobile phones of those who tried to document the aggression of the out-of-control law enforcement.
"When the shooting started, the police had blocked the two main accesses to the plaza to prevent us from leaving," Novedades newspaper reporter Alex Castro told EL PAÍS.
His partner, photographer Paola Chiomante, gave an even more chilling account, explaining that there were agents shooting from the rooftops and she heard them shouting when they arrived at the plaza: "Now the women are going to be worth it, 'pinches' women."
After the initial hesitation of the authorities, who tried to quickly shake off the responsibility, the Secretary of Public Security of Quintana Roo, Alberto Capella, who had informed via Twitter that he would open an investigation to clarify what had happened, was dismissed from his post after apologizing. The director of the municipal police of Cancún, Eduardo Santamaría, has also been dismissed. He ultimately gave instructions to shoot in the air to disperse the protest. Other police officers are also being investigated.
That's at least what the state's governor, Carlos Joaquín González, announced. The mayor of Cancún, Mara Lezama, made a statement assuring that "in my capacity as municipal president, I will never order any kind of repression against the citizens. I have given precise instructions for the corresponding investigations to be carried out."
President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador declared on Tuesday that the guilty parties must be punished.
"We must not use weapons, shoot, that has to do with authoritarian attitudes that do not accommodate to the new times; then, no repression," he declared.
AMLO added that he had given instructions to the governor so that there would be no aggression or weapons during the marches, and asked for an investigation that is already underway.
According to the Quintana Roo Prosecutor's Office, there have been a dozen femicides in the state since the beginning of the year, adding to the 34,000 intentional homicides and more than a thousand femicides registered throughout the country during the past year.