It had only been 10 minutes and 700 meters of the road that sought to follow one of the marches for legal and safe abortion in Mexico City, when police surrounded it, mounted an encapsulation that lasted four hours, and began a crackdown operation that provoked the violent response of the protesters.
The strong police operation came minutes after the head of government, Claudia Sheinbaum, disqualified this Monday’s march and discussed an alleged link between an entrepreneur linked to the management of Enrique Peña Nieto and the feminist movement.
Police emptied dozens of fire extinguishers to curb aggression, but also any attempt to approach or advance, even if there was no fire to put out.
Read: Is giving information about abortion a crime? NL deputy denounces feminists for crime apology
According to data from mexico City’s Secretariat of Citizen Security, a thousand 700 female policemen from the Athena Group, equipped with 165 fire extinguishers, were mobilized.
Also according to official figures, there were 600 protesters, or nearly three agents per participant.
Close the passage with fire extinguishers
At 2pm it was the appointment at the Monument to the Revolution, where about 300 girls came together in green scarves, most dressed in black and with their faces covered, who identify as Black Block. At 2:40 they began to walk, causing destruction in their wake, before which policemen formed fences to protect buildings or furniture. By the time they reached the Horse, two agents had already been assaulted with punches and kicks.
Then the uniforms were placed before the crossing with Balderas to close the passage of Avenida Juárez. In rows, they mounted their shields so as not to leave any gaps, while hundreds of other elements covered both sides of the street, and another group also closed the passage behind, on Humboldt Street. Within this ‘encapsulation’ were protesters, hooded, journalists and human rights observers who formed short fences of peace.
Protesters carried sticks and hammers, dropped some firecrackers and about five Molotov bombs that caused burns to some of the police. According to the capital government, there were 43 officers injured. The police then began to respond by activating the fire extinguishers, which in addition to putting out the fire, cause irritation to the eyes and throat. Although only 13 citizens were reported injured and cared for right there.
Such was the number of activated fire extinguishers, that despite being an open space and not saturated by protesters, there were times when half the area looked completely white, it was impossible to breathe or even open their eyes, and that affected the cops themselves. At one point, the girls ran to one end and those who brought water helped those who had been affected with the gas; while at the other end, without being able to break ranks, dozens of policemen coughed non-stop and tried to pass the effect by drinking or wetting their faces with water bottles that provided them with the elements that came from supporting them behind them.
The encapsulation at that point lasted two hours with twenty minutes, until 5:10, so at that time the protesters went from the aggressions to just shouting slogans or painting them on the ground, then performed the «Fearless Song» of Vivir Quintana, which has become a kind of feminist anthem, aggressions returned or just shouting at the police. There was a time when they formed a line that over several minutes was gradually approaching the line of shields, and when they were already about two meters away, without any aggression or fire, the agents fired several fire extinguishers again to force the girls to retreat.
Find out: Personal beliefs, political times and quarrels scriminalize abortion in Mexico
Throughout the day it was possible to see that there were not only Ateneas, but also transit agents, others with shields of the Banking and Industrial Police, and effective men, of which the Secretariat denied their presence until Political Animal showed photos, and then recognized that there were 50, but behind the metal fences that protected Fine Arts and the accesses to the streets leading to the Zocalo.
They march between disqualifications from the feminist movement
As the protest came, the atmosphere was already crunched among feminists by the disqualifications that the government, both local and federal, has made of recent women’s movements.
Just a few hours earlier, at the monthly conference at which the Secretary of the Government (Segob) reports on actions to combat gender-based violence, a federal civil service agency acknowledged that there are feminist groups charging victims for helping them get care that is free.
Earlier, the head of government, Claudia Sheinbaum, accused gingroup, noted as «invoice», of funding those who took over from the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), because at one of its public hearings someone told her that an employee of that company went to donate food to the takeover.
Just Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself said he had information that there are people infiltrated against his government who are using feminism to attack him.
And over the weekend another demonstration, organized by the Black Bloc, had already been encapsulated, which sought to go from the CNDH to Congress. This is as a pre-Global Action Day for Access to Legal and Safe Abortion, which takes place every year on September 28 in cities around the world.
At the end of this Monday’s day, there was a further disqualification by the capital government, which sent a communiqué announcing that it was 32 hooded women who «boycotted» the march with violent acts, so the police protocol of action was implemented during demonstrations, through which all the protesters were hooded.
Another two hours encapsulated up to the Antimonumenta
After more than two hours without advancing on Avenida Juárez and Balderas, in which some girls complained that this was a kidnapping and went against free transit and the right to protest, came elements of the Marabunta Brigade, a civilian organization that avoids confrontations in such marches.
This Brigade did form a peace fence between protesters and police, and then it was agreed that the contingent would be allowed to advance to the Antimonumenta by femicides installed in front of the Palace of Fine Arts. There he waited for the other half of the total protesters who gathered to call for legal and safe abortion for women across the country, as until now, it is only decriminalized unrestricted in Mexico City and the state of Oaxaca.
But those 500 meters more that advanced the march, advanced them fully encapsulated. It took more than 45 minutes for the front cops to arrive, as first, the cops at the front were walking on their backs – which caused more than one to stumble and fall – then the sides advanced as the protesters passed, and the police in the background kept closing the rear, so that no one could get out.
Read more: Among strong police operative, feminists call for legal abortion in Xalapa, Veracruz
Between 6 and 7pm, intermittent violence continued, as police continued to surround on the one hand the contingent that came from the Monument to the Revolution and on the other hand those who were in a temple installed in Central Axis, among whom were members of the Coordination 8 of March, of the collective Pan y Rosas, organizations such as assembly of neighborhoods and trade unions such as that of Light and Force , in addition to other independent protesters.
Although the Palace of Fine Arts was protected by metal fences, a line of policemen was bet in front of them, so some protesters threw bottles, empty spray cans, paint, pieces of broken glass and screams against them. At times, from behind the shields were returned the bottles and cans to the protesters, so again there were exchanges of blows, and again the policemen activated the fire extinguishers one after the other, even when the girls had already folded and it was the members of Marabunta Brigade who received all the irritating dust, and already without fire to put out , even though the authorities ensured in their communiqués that they are only used for that purpose.
Finally, after 7 p.m. and without further explanation, the policemen were set aside, only to cover the streets leading to the Zocalo, where the camp of the National Anti-AMYLO Front (FRENA) is installed, and accompanying the march along the banks, as in other demonstrations.
Women were then able to march by chanting feminist slogans, dancing batucada and with banners calling for the non-criminalization of abortion.
«The rich abort, the poor die,» said a blanket. «Clandestine abortion murders freedom», «If aborts, guilt; if she ejaculates, the apology», «Unwanted pregnancy, accompanied abortion» and «Our grandmothers gave us the vote, our mothers divorced and we will give the right to decide,» they were others.
With the hours that had passed, the women walked as fast as they could through Axis Central to the Garibaldi metro, where they folded through Reforma until they reached Metro Hidalgo, where staff indicated that the station was open. After commenting for a moment, with the night already on their heads and the contingent diminished, the demonstration dispersed without incident, while hundreds of policemen who far exceeded the number of women by that time followed the entire movement, until no one remained.
What we do at Animal Politics requires professional journalists, teamwork, dialogue with readers and something very important: independence. You can help us keep going. Be part of the team.
Subscribe to Animal Politics, receive benefits and support free journalism.#YoSoyAnimal