Members of the Federal Police block the Periferico Highway outside the Federal Police headquarters in Mexico City on Wednesday. Ronaldo Schemidt/ AFP
Hundreds of federal police blocked roads and protested in Mexico City on Wednesday against President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s plan to merge them into his new National Guard.
The leftist leader is launching the new security force in a bid to fight violent crime fueled by drug trafficking and also curb chronic corruption in the police.
But officers accused the government of planning to cut their pay, and said the president was violating the constitution by putting them under military command.
A huge crowd of angry police gathered outside the capital city’s command center in a pre-dawn protest that lasted well into the day. At one point, officers blocked two key roads and briefly seized a toll plaza at the edge of the city.
They vowed to continue the protest Thursday with a nationwide strike.
Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter that the police are engaging in “mutiny,” but it is not justified because “no police officer is being fired.”
He said that the unease is because some federal police will be unable to join the National Guard since “they do not have acceptable behavior” or have health problems, although he said that they will be given other jobs.
At a news conference, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo assured the police that “absolutely none of your rights will be violated,” and that pay, benefits, seniority and rank would be respected under the National Guard.
None of this convinced the protesters.
“It’s just another lie,” said Luis Javier Sanchez, 31, of the police special forces division.
“They want to get rid of the federal police and replace it with a militarized National Guard,” he told AFP.
Lopez Obrador officially launched the National Guard Sunday with a total of 70,000 members — expected to rise to 150,000 members in the coming months, largely drawn from the existing police and military.
The president has come under fire for naming a recently retired general to lead the new force, despite promising it would have a civilian command structure.
He has also faced criticism for his decision to deploy more than 20,000 National Guardsmen to secure Mexico’s borders under a deal with the United States to curb migration — even though stopping migrants was not part of its original mission.
Authorities, the United Nations and rights groups in the Mexican resort of Cancun were urged on Tuesday an investigation into the use of guns by police in this week to disperse a feminist protest over the death of a young woman.
Hong Kong police searched public transport heading for the airport on Saturday ahead of another “stress test” of road and rail links by anti-government protesters, the latest in 14 weeks
Barbie has been many things -- from a bathing beauty to an astronaut to even president. Now, she is donning skeleton face paint and a crown of marigolds to honour Mexican culture, but some are crying foul.
Very few decision makers questioned whether the police’s approach to protest was heavy-handed until now and this is because it’s white people raising these concerns. Prior to this, peacefully protesting Black people were talking, shouting,
The cause of the explosion was due to two workers doing welding work above one of the tanks.
With its humid, rainy climate, southwestern China is prone to landslides, especially in areas where there has been large-scale shifting of land due to farming, deforestation or engineering projects.
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