As has become traditional, rival Mexican union confederations celebrated International Workers Day on May 1 with separate rallies in Mexico City’s huge Zócalo plaza. The largest was organized by the independent National Workers Union (UNT), which claimed 250,000 to 300,000 participants; the local police failed to give an estimate.
The marchers opposed labor “reform” proposals from the government of rightwing president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and called for the dismissal of Labor Secretary Javier Lozano Alarcón. They expressed support for strikers at the Cananea copper mine and for 72 hunger strikers from the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) camped out in the plaza to protest the government’s sudden dismissal of 44,000 unionized electrical workers last October.
The demonstrators protested anti-immigrant measures in the US like Arizona Immigration Law SB1070 and criticized what they said was the Calderón administration’s passive attitude towards US immigration policy. One of the featured speakers was Elvira Arellano, an undocumented immigrant to the US who was repatriated to Mexico in 2007 after spending a year in a Chicago church resisting a deportation order. Others protested US immigration policy in a separate rally in front of the US embassy. (La Jornada, Mexico, May 2; El Nuevo Diario, Nicaragua, May 1 from AFP)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 2.