90,000 Protest Candidate, Media Corruption ahead of Elections in Mexico

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90,000 Protest Candidate, Media Corruption ahead of Elections in Mexico

#YoSoy132 student movement continues to gain momentum ahead of July 1st election

Common Dreams staff

90,000 protest in Guadalajara city, June 10, 2012 (Hector Guerrero/AFP

On Sunday, 90,000 students, teachers, union members and activists took to the streets in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The protests took place during this year's final presidential debate ahead of this year's July 1st elections.

Protesters expressed outrage over frontrunner candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The PRI ruled for over 70 years before losing the presidency in 2000. Demonstrators say a Neito victory would signal a step back for democracy in Mexico.

Multiple protests and marches have broken out over this year's presidential race, specifically at the prospect of Nieto's potential victory and in outrage over Mexico's corporate media coverage of the election. Protesters have taken aim specifically at news network Televisa, who have continued to cover the protests negatively, in favor of Nieto's rise.

The protests are driven by a growing student movement labeled #YoSoy132, or 'I am 132'.

The movement, which has found widespread success through online sources such as YouTube, began as a call to join the original 131 protesting students, prompting the #YoSoy132 hashtag and subsequent online popularity.

On Sunday, as 90,000 protested in Guadalajara, gathering in Zocalo, the capital's landmark main square, other protests gathered in at least five other cities around the country.

"You can see here that Pena will not be president," protesters chanted throughout the day.

* * *

Agence France-Presse: Mexicans protest as presidential candidates hold debate

Mexico's presidential race entered a critical phase Monday after the four candidates clashed in a second debate as some 90,000 people protested in the capital against the frontrunner.

The televised debate, held in Guadalajara in the violence-torn state of Jalisco, could help decide the tight race with just three weeks to go before the July 1 vote. [...]

The top two rivals -- Enrique Pena Nieto of the long-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who lost by a narrow margin in 2006 -- hoped to get a boost from the event that could take them over the top. [...]

For weeks, students under the Yosoy132 ("I am the 132"- a reference to the protest initiators) youth movement have mobilized online and in the streets to slam favorable media coverage of Pena Nieto they say aims to make his win look inevitable, accusing the PRI candidate, who is married to an ex-soap opera star, of corruption.

The students cranked their campaign into high gear again Sunday, using social media to call supporters out to city squares to watch the debate, said Carlos Brito, a movement spokesman.

More than 90,000 movement supporters thronged the Zocalo, the capital's landmark main square, to rally against the PRI candidate. They were to march against Pena Nieto to the Angel of Independence monument.

* * *

CNN: As elections loom, protesters rally in Mexico

Protesters marched and packed the main square of Mexico City on Sunday, slamming the candidate widely seen as the front-runner in next month's presidential elections.

Enrique Peña Nieto, the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate, leads in polls. His party -- better known as the PRI -- ruled for some 70 years, before losing the presidency in 2000. Demonstrators say his winning would be a step back for democracy in Mexico.

"I'm here because I'm really angry with what's going on in my country. I think it's not fair," said Adrian Garcia, 34, a protester.

He wore a white T-shirt with the words "Yo Soy 132," ("I am 132") printed on it, referencing a nascent protest group that Peña Nieto inadvertently helped to create.

After students jeered the candidate at a recent campaign event, Peña Nieto dismissed the demonstrators as outsiders, dragged there by political operatives to cause commotion.

Three days later, a YouTube video featured 131 students flashing their university ID cards, saying "We are students from Ibero. ... Nobody forced us to do anything." The 11-minute video went viral.

Posts promoting protests throughout the country on social media have used it as a jumping off point, using the phrase "#YoSoy132" on Twitter and Facebook.

But Sunday's protests in Mexico City attracted more than just students -- teachers, unions and various political groups were also there.

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