Mexico: Lopez Obrador begins “permanent” protest

As hundreds of thousands or even millions of supporters marched and rallied in and around Mexico City’s giant Zocalo plaza on July 30, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), presidential candidate of a center-left coalition in Mexico’s July 2 elections, called for a “permanent assembly” until the Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Branch of the Federation (TEPJF) orders a recount of the vote. He asked his supporters to set up encampments in the Zocalo and at 47 other points in the capital but to behave in an organized and peaceful manner. “Andres Manuel, hang in there; the people are rising up,” the crowd chanted.

The Federal District (DF, Mexico City) police estimated march participation at 2.4 million, double their estimate for the last protest, on July 16, which in turn was double the estimate for a July 8 demonstration. Noting that Lopez Obrador’s Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) governs the DF, foreign reporters gave lower estimates, but agreed that this was the largest protest yet against what Lopez Obrador’s supporters consider a fraudulent election. The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) provisionally awarded the victory to Felipe Calderon Hinojosa of the center-right National Action Party (PAN) with a 0.58% margin, but Lopez Obrador has filed numerous challenges with the TEPJF, which can order a full recount or even annul the election. A president-elect must be declared officially by Sept. 6; the winner takes office on Dec. 1. (La Jornada, BBC News, Reuters, July 30)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 30

See our last post on Mexico and the electoral crisis.