Mexico: police attack PRD legislators

From EFE, Aug. 14 via Chiapas95 (our translation):

MEXICO — Mexico’s Federal Preventative Police (PFP) today used blows and tear gas to break up a group of legislators who support leftist candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador at one of the gates of the federal Chamber of Depuites which they had been blockading.

This marked the first outbreak of violence in the campaign of “peaceful civil resistance” organized by the Por el Bien de Todos coalition, led by the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), to demand a new count of all the votes in the July 2 presidential elections.

Some 15 legislators, inclduign one injured and another with broken ribs, brought charges over the physical aggerssion suffered in the attack by some 500 federal police.

“Today we are bringing charges before an agency of the public ministry (fiscalia)…and we will also bring charges before the Prosecutor General of the Republic”, said a press statement by a spoesman for Por el Bien de Todos, Gerardo Fernandez.

The spokesman saud that at least 15 of the 30 PRD deputies [representatives] protesting outside the Chamber were attacked, including “the deputy Juan Jose Garcia who was badly wounded, and another who suffered a broken rib.”

It was the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Alvaro Elias Loredo, of the ruling National Action Party (PAN), who demanded the intervention of the federal police, but repudiated the aggression against the leftists.

The PRD deputies, together with 70 sympathizers, sought to establish an encampment at the gates of the Chamber, similar to those which for 15 days have been maintained in central avnues of Mexico City, which have blocked traffic and cost millions [of pesos] to hotels and businesses.

Yesterday, Sunday, the leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on his followers to hold various protests on key dates, such as Sept. 1, when President Vicente Fox is to give his sixth and last address before the federal legislature.

Lopez Obrador insists that his victory in the presidential elections was stolen by fraud in favor of the ruling party’s Felipe Calderon.

The leftist leader called for a National Democratic Convention to be held Sept. 16 in the Zocalo [Mexico City’s central plaza] to make “definitive decisions for the long and medium term.”

This is the date when the Mexican army holds its military parade in commemoration Mexican independence in this same plaza, overseen by the president from a balcony in the National Palace.

Today President Fox said on a visit to Veracruz state that in spite of any protests, national institutions will prevail.

For his part, the conservative candidate, Felipe Calderon, who obtained the majority of votes in the presidential elections which have yet to be ratified, called on Lopez Obrador to consider “that violence, the abuse of patriotic symbols, and the utilization of blackmail, are simply unacceptable.”

Followers of Lopez Obrador also today blockaded officies and local branches of Banamex, owned by the US-based Citigroup and one of the largest banks in Mexico.

Banamex indicated in a statement that “for the third time in less than a month,” sympathizers of Lopez Obrador blocked the entrances to its offices in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Veracruz, and rbanch officers in the cities of Chetumal, Guadalajara, Queretaro, Reynosa, Tampico, Toluca y Veracruz.

“Banamex reserves the right to take legal action against those responsible for these arbitrary and lamentable events,” said the financial group in a statement.

See our last posts on Mexico and the electoral crisis.