On 8 June Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador accused the governor of the western state of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, of being “disrespectful” for accusing him of orchestrating the recent protests against police brutality that have erupted in the state capital Guadalajara.
López Obrador and Alfaro are longstanding political adversaries but not even their differences over the mishandling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic have produced such serious tensions between them. Alfaro maintains that the hand of López Obrador lies behind the days of demonstrations that broke out in protest at the death of a construction worker, Giovanni López, after he was arrested for failing to wear a face mask by municipal police officers in Ixtlahuacán de Los Membrillos municipality, close to Guadalajara last month.
- Alfaro alleged that behind everything that has been happening in Jalisco are “very definite interests constructed from Mexico City, from the vaults of power”. Alfaro did not stop there. He elaborated upon these serious accusations, without producing any evidence for them, by claiming that the state was facing “a brutal assault from interest groups that are difficult to identify, seeking to construct a history, a strategy that aims to produce deaths in Jalisco”.
- Speaking during his morning press conference in response to Alfaro’s comments, López Obrador said that “these kind of accusations cannot be made lightly, blaming others for…the problems that elected leaders have to confront on a daily basis”. López Obrador went on to maintain that he was not “seeking a confrontation with anybody”.
- López Obrador ruled out any federal intervention in Jalisco over police repression of protests in the state. He said that it was a matter for the national human rights commission (CNDH) and the federal attorney general’s office (FGR) which were “independent and autonomous” to investigate if necessary.
While protests against police brutality have been largest in Jalisco, they have not been restricted to the state. Around 100 protesters, mainly hooded, mobilised in Mexico City on 8 June in order to demand justice for the victims of abuse of power by the police.
In brief: EU announces donation to help refugees in northern Mexico
* The European Union (EU) has announced a donation of €4m (US$4.5m) to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to improve the conditions of refugees in the north of Mexico. According to an EU statement, over 70,000 people sought asylum in Mexico in 2019, up 137% on 2018. By the end of May 2020, 19,147 people had applied for asylum in Mexico, a 22% decrease in comparison with the same period last year, as many countries in the region have closed their borders to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. However, the UNHCR anticipates a rise in the number of asylum seekers in the second half of 2020 when borders reopen. The 18-month project seeks to identify and register refugees, provide healthcare, and help them find work. Additionally, the programme will set up hostels for refugees with coronavirus symptoms and will support health institutions in northern Mexico by providing protective equipment for health workers.