Thousands protest against the Mexican President and the ruling party in a “March for Democracy”

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MEXICO CITY — Thousands of demonstrators wearing pink robes marched through cities in Mexico and beyond on Sunday in what they called a “march for democracy” targeting the country’s ruling party ahead of the country’s June 2 elections.

Demonstrations called by Mexican opposition parties called for free and fair elections in the Latin American country and attacked corruption on the same day that Claudia Sheinbaum, the presidential front-runner, officially registered as a candidate for the ruling Morena party.

Sheinbaum is largely seen as a continuity candidate for popular Mexican populist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Thousands of demonstrators take part in the “March for Democracy” in Mexico City on February 18, 2024. AFP Photos/Marco Ugarte

He is beloved by many voters who say he ousted the country's elite parties from power in 2018 and represents the working class.

But the 70-year-old president is also accused of taking steps that endanger the country's democracy.

Last year, the leader cut funding for the country's electoral agency, the National Electoral Institute, and weakened oversight of campaign spending, something the head of the National Institute of Statistics said could “poison democracy itself.” The demonstrators used the agency's color, pink, as a symbol.

López Obrador has also attacked journalists in hours-long press conferences, frequently attacking Mexico's judiciary and claiming that judges are part of a conservative conspiracy against his administration.

In Mexico City on Sunday, thousands of people dressed in pink flocked to the city's main square chanting “Get Lopez out!”

The demonstrators called for free and fair elections in Mexico and criticized presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum. AFP Photos/Marco Ugarte

Others carried banners reading, “The power of the people is greater than those in power.”

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Among the opposition organizations that participated in the march were the National Civic Front, Yes for Mexico, Citizen Power, Mexican Civil Society, UNE Mexico, and United for Mexico.

“Democracy does not solve the problem of water shortages, it does not solve the problem of hunger, it does not solve a lot of things. It does not solve the problem of water shortages, it does not solve the problem of hunger, it does not solve a lot of things,” Enrique de la Madrid Cordero, a prominent politician from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, said in a video posted on social media calling on people to join the protests. They are pretending. But without democracy you cannot solve anything.”

Protesters carry effigies depicting Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum. AFP Photos/Marco Ugarte

The Institutional Revolutionary Party has held uninterrupted power in Mexico for more than seventy years.

Rallies were held in one hundred cities across the country, and in other cities in the United States and Spain.

However, the president remains very popular, and his ally Sheinbaum appears to be headed easily to the presidency.

She leads the polls with a whopping 64% over her closest rival, Xochitl Galvez, who received 31% of the vote.

Mexico is scheduled to elect a new president on June 2, 2024. Photo by APAP/Marco Ugarte

López Obrador criticized the protests during a press conference on Friday morning, questioning whether organizers cared about democracy.

He added: “They are calling for demonstrations to defend corruption, and are looking forward to the return of the corrupt, even though they say they care about democracy.”

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