Mexican President-elect Bracing for Civil Unrest During Inauguration

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Mexico’s President-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto, has directed police to build barricades around the San Lázaro Legislative Palace in advance of his December 1 inauguration there, in case of civil unrest.

In July, Peña Nieto, the candidate of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, won the presidential election against his left-wing opponent, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, by 6.6 points, according to the official vote count. The announcement of Peña Nieto’s victory was immediately followed by a challenge to the election’s legitimacy. Lopez Obrador called the result “fraudulent,” accusing the PRI of buying at least 1 million votes and of exceeding the campaign finance limit. The PRI has a long history of corruption, repression and hegemonic one-party rule in Mexico.

In September, Lopez Obrador announced that he was stepping away from party politics to form a new political youth movement called “Morena,” dedicated to “peaceful civil resistance” to the new regime.

In May, in the middle of the campaign season, a student-based democratization movement called “Yo Soy 132″ emerged, which carried out repeated national mass protests in opposition to the PRI, Peña Nieto’s candidacy, and the media bias in favor of both. Yo Soy 132 was distrustful not only of the PRI’s authoritarian history, but of Peña Nieto’s conduct as Governor of the State of Mexico, where he oversaw a brutal crackdown on protesters who had blocked a highway in support of flower vendors who had been harassed by police. Two protesters were killed in the confrontation, and the police who carried out the crackdown are being investigated for allegedly molesting and raping 26 women.

Yo Soy 132 joined Lopez Obrador in contesting the election result after the vote count.

Presently, the government is bracing for further unrest. Oaxaca-born blogger Lorenzo Tlacaelel Lambertino writes:

Popular resistance continues unchecked against the president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, who is perceived to have come into power through illegitimate means. In response to perceived threats from ‘radical groups,’ the state has barricaded off a 1.5 km. sector of the city surrounding the Legislative Palace in Sán Lázaro, in preparation for Peña Nieto’s inauguration on December 1st.

At least five metro stations have been closed off to the public for this purpose since last Sunday, three of which were re-opened after massive public outcry. The wall has become an epicenter for the expression of public anger, with large numbers of posters and writings pasted on the wall since it started to go up last week. The wall will also be the rallying point for a massive protest organized by the student resistance movement @YoSoy132, set to begin on November 30th.

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