MEXICO CITY – A march on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Mexico City on Monday was marred by acts of vandalism and destruction of public property.
Some 2,500 female police officers and some 2,000 government officials of Mexico City were deployed to oversee the demonstration, attended mostly by feminist youth, groups and organizations.
In the middle of Reforma Avenue, a group of 30 girls with their faces covered damaged public property, including bus stops, newspaper kiosks and telephone booths.
At the crossroads between Reforma and Insurgentes, some women destroyed the wooden fence around the Monument to Cuauhtemoc, which had been attacked by the vandals in an earlier march, and subsequently set fire to the planks.
The same situation was witnessed at the Christopher Columbus roundabout and at other monuments along Reforma, one of the busiest avenues in Mexico City.
Several other participants, some carrying hammers and other metal tools, destroyed businesses and shops.
To guard against such actions, the city government set up barriers around historic fences, businesses and government institutions such as the Palace of Fine Arts, of which they destroyed a part of the fence.
Meanwhile a human barrier, made up only of women, that had been set up did not work as intended and ended up disintegrating.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced last Saturday that a special security strategy was being prepared for this march.
The strategy was for police officers to be positioned at the rear of the demonstration; and while the situation did not escalate or turn into riots, there were some outbreaks of violence and in some cases fire extinguishers were used to douse small fires.
Acts of sporadic violence continued until the march reached the Zocalo plaza.
Sheinbaum said she did not intend to criminalize the protest, but that they would take security measures to protect citizens and businesses.
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, 66.1 percent (30.7 million) of the 46.5 million women aged 15 and above in the country have faced violence of some kind in their lifetime.
Moreover, 43.9 percent of women have faced assault from their husband or partner during their relationship, and the incidence is more pronounced among women who were married before the age of 18 (48 percent) than those who did so at 25 or above (37.7 percent).
In 2018 there were 3,752 registered cases of femicide, the highest figure of the last 29 years (1990-2018).