On August 16, with the slogan of “they don’t look after me, they rape me”, thousands of women took to the streets in Mexico City and other cities across Mexico against gender-based violence and demanded justice for all its victims. The mobilization was triggered by the surfacing of several cases of rape in the capital committed by police officers, one of the victims is a minor.
Feminists demonstrated with placards displaying strong messages such as “They are killing us and you are doing nothing”, “Feminism has not killed anyone, Machismo is killing everyday”, “Not one more, not one less, we want to live”, “Demanding justice is not provocation”, etc.
According to reports, on July 10, a 27-year-old homeless woman was raped by two policemen at a hotel in the downtown. On August 3, a 17-year-old girl was raped by four policemen in their patrol car in Azcapotzalco, and on August 8, another 16-year-old girl was sexually abused by a policeman in a museum in the city center. The victim in the Azcapotzalco apparently retracted her denouncement to authorities after learning that her information and details about her case were reportedly leaked to the press.
Feminists in the country have had enough with the seeming indifference by the state and its institutions to take measures to prevent violence against women and LGBTQ people. These cases drew attention to the glaring contradiction that those are entrusted by the state to protect and serve the population are the same ones enacting this horrible violence. In Mexico, violence against women and LGBTQ people is an urgent issue. During the first six months of 2019, 448 cases of femicides, 1,364 of homicides against women, 206 of kidnappings, 9,000 of rape and more than 30,000 of assaults were reported in the country.
During the protests feminist activists erupted with anger at the situation in the country and several incidents of property destruction were registered. The windows and ticket machines at a public transportation station were smashed, there was an intense confrontation between protesters and officials at a police station, and later fire was set to the police station, the perpetrators of the latest abhorrent rape cases. Feminist slogans and messages were spray painted on the walls of various public and government buildings in the capital city.
The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador appears to be taking a more restrained response to the feminist protests and has vowed not to violently repress nor prosecute the protesters responsible for the destruction of property. An unknown man was reported to have attacked a journalist during the protest and the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico City announced that it would open an investigation against those responsible for attacks against journalists but not for destruction of private property.
Last Monday, on August 13, hundreds of women demonstrated outside the Attorney General’s Office demanding justice for the minor victims. They broke a glass of the headquarters’ building and painted on its walls. The angry protesters threw pink glitter on the Public Security Minister, Jesus Orta, when he came out to talk with the protesters.