Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday rebuffed insinuations from an opposition governor that his allies were behind a violent protest against police brutality that echoed current unrest in the U.S.
Jalisco state Governor Enrique Alfaro said the demonstration the day prior had been instigated by people from out of town and had been organized in Mexico City, “from the basements of power.” Lopez Obrador denied his administration or Morena party were involved, telling reporters it is the Jalisco state government’s responsibility to investigate the accusations of excessive force.
“I have absolutely nothing to do with this,” said Lopez Obrador, adding the national human rights commission could also look into the matter. “If he has the evidence against the leaders of Morena, he should point it out.”
Lopez Obrador won a landslide election in 2018 on a pledge to curb violence, but there are signs of growing discontent as murders have continued to rise to record levels on his watch. During Thursday’s protest in Jalisco state capital Guadalajara, crowds of mostly young demonstrators gathered to protest the alleged murder of a man at the hands of police after he was detained for not wearing a face mask and carted away, local media reported.
Television broadcasts showed protesters ramming open the huge wooden doors to the colonial government palace in the city center, as well as skirmishes where police could be seen beating demonstrators after coming under attack with rocks and having their patrol vehicles burned.
La escalada de violencia continúa en las calles de Guadalajara. Aquí el momento en que se prende fuego a uno de los policías; las detenciones se están dando de manera intensa.Cobertura: @Mariomarlo pic.twitter.com/tFbd0eGWrl
— ZonaDocs (@ZonaDocs) June 5, 2020
Alfaro said police would be held accountable in the case of the alleged murder, but he insisted officers had shown restraint in handling the protests where six officers had been wounded and one set on fire by a protester.
“I ask the President of the Republic to tell his people and his party that I hope they are measuring the damage they are causing to the country with this atmosphere of confrontation,” Alfaro said in a video posted on Twitter. He has been a critic of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tens of thousands of Mexicans disappeared during the country’s war against drug cartels that began in late 2006. Most are thought to have been killed by drug gangs, but security forces have also been accused of extra judicial killings.
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