MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hundreds of federal police blocked highways in and around Mexico’s capital Wednesday in open revolt against plans to absorb the officers into the newly formed National Guard, a move that the police fear could upend their jobs.
The protests came as the government officially began deploying the National Guard to try to seal the country’s porous southern border and control immigration and crime. The demonstrations threatened to complicate the formation of the new force, which President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has bet Mexico’s future security on.
Uniformed officers blocked a major expressway in front of federal police offices in the capital, and another contingent blocked the highway between the city and the Hidalgo state capital of Pachuca. Federal police at a Mexico City command center demanded a meeting with the security secretary.
The president has been dismissive of the federal police, characterizing them as a failed security force. He gave military officers the bulk of the responsibility for the National Guard. The new agency is also seeking new recruits.
Late Wednesday, López Obrador suggested many of the protesters are officers who can’t pass vetting or physical exams. He said the force had become “rotten” and “perverted” and “from top to bottom, the rule was irresponsibility and corruption.” He also suggested there were ulterior motives behind the protest, but didn’t explain that accusation.
Protesting police at the command center in the capital’s Iztapalapa borough said their seniority, rank and benefits would not be recognized within the National Guard.
National Guard Commandant Patricia Rosalinda Trujillo Mariel, one of the few leaders of the new force who came from the federal police, was jostled by the crowd as she arrived to meet with the protesters and asked them to put forward representatives to talk.
“I am federal police. I respect the principles of my institution, and I want to have a dialogue,” Trujillo shouted over the crowd.
Police officer Alejandra Baez Villanueva said the police need their jobs to support their families.
Source: Yahoo News