Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations were marked with anti-government protests and violent police repression against dissident teachers in the southern state of Oaxaca.
Mexican President Peña Nieto's Approval Rating Plummets to 22%
Thousands of riot police officers were deployed in Mexico City as a mass demonstration demanding the resignation of Peña Nieto tried to reach the iconic main square of that city known as Zocalo, however, they couldn't pass through the human barrier of police armed with tear gas and batons.
The protesters had to stay meters away from the main square where the president traditionally starts the Independence celebrations by ringing a bell on the balcony of the National Palace and shouting "Viva Mexico" before a crowd that effusively chants the same words, in what is probably the most important popular celebration for Mexicans.
Instead around 5,000 people, most of them youngsters, held a peaceful demonstration near the Zocalo in which they held banners that read “Peña out,” or “Resign now,” showing their contempt for Peña Nieto who has become Mexico’s most unpopular president in a quarter-century, according to opinion polls.
#RenunciaYa sigue siendo el TT más mencionado. #FueraPeña. pic.twitter.com/bFvM8YZSEi— Jenaro Villamil (@jenarovillamil) September 16, 2016
Meanwhile, Peña Nieto celebrated the country's independence in a square that was completely surrounded by fences, checkpoints and with two safety filters for attendees, most of whom were people brought by the government from the State of Mexico, the political stronghold of Peña Nieto.
"Police and teachers face off in the center of Oaxaca"
Anti-government protests were held also in the capital of the southern state of Oaxaca, where striking teachers continue a fierce battle against the neoliberal education reform of Peña Nieto.
Teachers tried to held a peaceful public demonstration in the main square of Oaxaca, but they were fired with tear gas by riot police and clashes began as they responded by throwing flares and stones.
La fiesta de México en el Zócalo. ¡#VivaMéxico! pic.twitter.com/CGEcLnFEic— Presidencia México (@PresidenciaMX) September 16, 2016