Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 9, 2020 / 11:53 am (CNA).- A Mexico City march organized for International Women’s Day turned violent Sunday, when some demonstrators vandalized public structures and monuments, Church buildings, and businesses amid the march.
Considerable violence took place outside the city’s cathedral, where some feminist demonstrators, many of whom wore masks, threw paint and flammable liquids at the church. A group of Catholics had gathered outside the cathedral to safeguard it during the demonstration, and a contingent of female police officers was assigned to the site. Both fell under attack.
Violentas feministas atacan a los que defienden la Catedral de México y a las pocas agentes policiales que la defienden #8M #MujeresPorLaPaz #TodaVidaVale #UnDiaPorTodas #MujerEsVida pic.twitter.com/FNxl8lvylN
— David Ramos (@YoDash) March 8, 2020
Some media reports mentioned counter-protesters making Nazi salutes outside the cathedral. Three such persons were observed by journalists from ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, all of whom apparently left the site once the melee began. Those counter-protesters did not appear to be affiliated with the cathedral parishioners outside the church.
Demonstrators also threw Molotov cocktails at Mexico’s National Palace, the country’s official presidential residence, leaving some at the demonstration with burns and other injuries, smashed car windshields, and burnt the doors of some buildings.
Así dejaron las violentas feministas un vehículo de los bomberos @Bomberos_CDMX, a pocos metros de la Catedral de México y sin que las autoridades hagan algo #8M #DiaDeLaMujer #DiaInternacionaldelasMujeres pic.twitter.com/zKHLspLo4y
— David Ramos (@YoDash) March 8, 2020
Official government numbers said 80,000 people participated in the march. Demonstrators said the march was intended to address the problem of femicide in the country, although protestors also mentioned support for abortion rights among reasons for the demonstrations, and many wore the green bandanas that symbolize “abortion rights” support in Mexico.
#Viral| ?? En la cobertura de la marcha feminista, la fotógrafa de El Universal, Berenice Fregoso, resultó lesionada por una bomba molotov.
Fue traslada al hospital con quemaduras de segundo grado.
— EL UNIVERSAL Qro (@universalqro) March 9, 2020
Some pro-life groups distributed signs and posted banners describing abortion as femicide, though demonstrators could be seen tearing them down and setting them on fire.
Churches and public buildings were also vandalized in other Mexican city by feminist groups and demonstrators. By Monday, March 9th, serious damage was reported to Catholic churches in Xalapa, Campeche and Hermosillo.
In Hermosillo, Catholics attending Mass were attacked by a group of masked marchers, The Massgoers barricaded themselves inside the church by pushing pews against the main door, in order to prevent the group from damaging the interior of the cathedral.
After the violence unfolded, an Archdiocese of Mexico spokesman told ACI Prensa that “I think it is important to say that the crisis of values and violence against women is an issue that should unite us to work together in search of the gift of peace. Acting divided and in confrontation will only thwart efforts to stop violence.”
The Mexican bishops’ conference had expressed support for March 9 demonstrations across the country, which had mostly been organized by groups calling for expanded legal protection for abortion in Mexico. The conference has not yet issued a statement on Sunday’s violence.
A version of this story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner.
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