MEXICO CITY – A group of around 100 female demonstrators spray-painted messages on the facade and one of the doors of the National Palace on Friday to demand urgent action against femicides in Mexico, a protest that comes five days after the discovery of the body of a woman who was slain and mutilated by her partner.
The protesters, who gathered at around 6 am in Mexico City at the doors of the seat of the federal executive and the residence of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, chanted feminist slogans and painted phrases critical of the head of state on the building and the concrete floor outside.
They also tried to knock down the door on at least one occasion.
“Your Silence is Complicit,” “They’re Killing Us” and “President Indifferent” were some of the phrases spray-painted by the protesters.
In statements to the media, one demonstrator accused the president of “state femicide” and demanded “concrete actions” to combat violence against women.
While Lopez Obrador was beginning his daily morning press conference inside the National Palace, protesters read a manifesto against femicide (gender-based killings of women) and used paper and cardboard with written slogans to make a small bonfire.
“We’re asking him to fulfill his obligations,” the written statement concluded.
Other protesters criticized the president’s priorities, chanting “Justice Yes, Raffle No” in reference to Lopez Obrador’s plans to organize a lottery to cover the cost of maintaining a luxury presidential plane purchased during the tenure of his predecessor.
The protest at the National Palace was the first of several planned for Friday in Mexico City and several other Mexican cities following the killing last weekend of 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla in this capital and the subsequent appearance in a newspaper of a leaked photograph of her mutilated body.
During a march against gender-based violence last August, protesters vandalized and destroyed street furniture and public transport stations.
An open letter against femicides that was signed by more than 20 organizations and published Thursday stated that 10 women are killed every day in Mexico. The Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System for its part registered a total of 1,006 gender-based killings in Mexico in 2019.
During his press conference on Friday, Lopez Obrador said he was working every day to “guarantee peace and tranquility” in Mexico and that his conscience is clear.
“I’m not sticking my head in the sand. I’m not evading my responsibility,” he said, recalling the he stepped in to block a proposed legal reform that would have reclassified the crime of femicide as aggravated homicide.
Asked to explain why he has prioritized other issues over the scourge of gender-based killings, he said his administration is justified in having made the battle against corruption its main focal point.
“Corruption is the main cause of economic and social inequality. And corruption is the main cause in Mexico of insecurity and violence,” said Lopez Obrador, who earlier this week said the issue of femicide was monopolizing the news and that some outlets were using the outrage over last weekend’s shocking murder to smear his administration.