CDMX, Tuesday October 22, 2019.- While hooded individuals were allowed to vandalize the gate and facade of the National Palace in Mexico City, just one month ago, on Tuesday October 22nd, mayors of opposition who demanded resources outside the building were sprayed with tear gas.
On September 26, a group of hooded young men knocked, kicked, scratched and spray painted the door and facade of this historic building, and absolutely no authority intervened.
However, when a group of mayors demanded an audience with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador they were sprayed with tear gas, as a measure of “deterrence,” the office of the presidency admitted.
At 05:45 AM on Tuesday Oct. 22, a group of 80 municipal presidents, mostly from the PAN and PRD political parties, gathered outside the National Palace where they placed a sign saying: “Save the Municipality”, to demand more economic resources in order to strengthen security and infrastructure.
They said their intention was to get an appointment with the president to request more resources as part of the Expenditure Budget 2020 (Prespuesto de Egresos 2020).
“Without a municipality there is no Nation,” they shouted, while dozens of fireworks from Tultepec Estado de México, were launched into the air, which were heard at the Treasury Hall, where the president holds his daily morning press conference.
Headed by the municipal presidents of Huixquilucan, Enrique Vargas; from Nezahualcóyotl, Juan Hugo de la Rosa; from Tepic, Nayarit, Francisco Javier Castellón; and from Uruapan, Michoacán Víctor Manuel Manríquez; the delegation was standing in front of the National Palace main entrance gate, where they were shouting: “yes we can and we want to enter”.
According to the mayors’ testimony, at the time they were requesting the hearing, they were thrown tear gas from inside the National Palace. They stated that they were not trying to enter by force.
Leaders and legislators of the PAN and PRD condemned the use of gas and declared they were treated as criminals, when their only objective was to ask for an audience with the president, to demand greater resources for the municipalities in the 2020 Expenditure Budget.
Several mayors complained that military personnel dispersed tear gas when they requested a hearing with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Maru Campos, municipal president of Chihuahua, even ironized saying that López Obrador treats his mayors more harshly than drug dealers, in reference to the Ovidio Guzmán López (son of El Chapo) situation in Culiacán last week.
The Office of the Presidency spokesperson acknowledged in a statement that tear gas was used. Spokesman Jesús Ramírez admitted in an interview the use of that substance and even pointed out that ” they acted according to protocol”.
– Was tear gas used? A reporter asked.
“Yes, a very small amount of tear gas was used, a gas device was detonated, but no one was sprayed directly, the gas was dispersed in the air to avoid putting others at risk,” the spokesperson answered.
However, in the electronic version of the same bulletin, the Office of the Presidency changed the term “tear gas” to “natural defensive spray”.
“For moderate purposes a “mild” dose of natural defensive aerosol was dispersed in the environment, that did not endanger the life of any person,” reads the bulletin.
This is the second time that military personnel assigned to Palacio Nacional‘s security used some type of gas to disperse protesters. On Thursday September 12, they threw gas at dissatisfied Central Supply merchants (Central de Abastos), who were trying to enter by force through the access on Calle Moneda.
San Miguel Times Newsroom