Feminist activists continue to protest femicide and gender-based violence in Mexico

Women said police officers physically attacked them during the arrest

Feminist activists continue to protest femicide and gender-based violence in Mexico
Victims’ families and feminists occupied the National Human Rights Commission offices in Mexico City on September 4 - Photo: Christian Palma/AP
English 14/09/2020 13:35 Newsroom Mexico City Emilio Fernández, Pedro Villa y Caña, Alberto Morales, Claudia González, Alexis Ortiz, Kevin Ruiz, Diana Lastiri Actualizada 13:54

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Victims’ families and feminists occupied the National Human Rights Commission offices in Mexico City on September 4. Days later, they urged more victims, families, and activists to occupy CNDH offices in other states to demand justice, especially for victims of femicide and other types of gender-based violence

On September 10, victims’ families and activists occupied the CNDH offices in the State of Mexico (Codhem). The women said the institution does not help women reporting human rights violations in the state. 

The State Of Mexico, especially the Ecatepec borough, is one of the most dangerous places to be a woman in Mexico. It has been plagued by femicide, sexual abuse, and gender-based violence for years. 

The feminist activist demanded the resignation of state and municipal officials such as Grisel Barrientos, Sandra Pacheco García, and Carlos Alberto Vásquez Hernández. They also demanded to speak to Governor Alfredo del Mazo, and Codhem director Jorge Olvera. 

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Once the women arrived at the local CNDH offices, they asked the employees to leave and announced they would occupy the building to protests against femicides and impunity. 

Nevertheless, the local prosecutor’s office deployed dozens of officers to remove the activists from the government building at midnight, even when children and a pregnant woman were present. 

 
Authorities detained the protesters and transported them to a police station where they spent the night. Several women later shared their testimonies and said police officers physically attacked them during the arrest

The next morning, the Codhem said it had no information regarding the operation to evict protesters from its offices. That same day, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked authorities to launch an investigation into the eviction, and urged authorities to protect women. 
 
Governor Alfredo Del Mazo Maza condemned the actions of local police officers during the operation to evict women from the government building. The Governor took to Twitter to say he instructed local officials to support women and their rights. 
 
Later that day authorities began to release the detainees. In total, the local police detained 11 women, 2 men, and 7 children.
 
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Lawyer Shayda Aide Ruiz told EL UNIVERSAL that authorities kept the children inside the police station; therefore, state authorities did not respect the minor’s human rights, Moreover, she explained authorities violated several laws during the arrest and detention. 
 
Meanwhile, Jorge Olvera García, the head of the State of Mexico’s Human Rights Commission (Codhem), said the institution tried to talk to the feminists who occupied the building. García took to social media to explain the protesters occupied the building to demand the resignation of Sandra Pacheco and Griselda Barrientos. He emphasized no one was hurt or went missing during the arrest. 

Hours after authorities released the activists, Governor Del Mazo said his administration will investigate the incident, and said the State of Mexico is against gender-based violence. 

Human rights violations

During the operation to evict the women from the Codhem, a feminist activist said authorities were violent: “We were all women, they waited until the media left and we were alone. [Authorities] arrived in civilian vehicles, with a lot of people dressed as civilians. [They] pushed a woman down the stairs and kicked all of us.”

One of the activists also said the police officers told them they were “fucked.” The activists explain authorities stole their cellphones, IDs, credit and debit cards, among other things. 

The activists said police officers physically attacked them and one of the relatives who visited them. Around 10 police officers beat and kicked a woman. 
 
The feminist activists announced they will file a complaint before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Occupying the Codhem

Days after the incident, protesters occupied the building once again and burnt some documents. 

 
The Codhem condemned the incident and said this would have an impact on the protection, promotion, and defense of humane rights in the State of Mexico. 

Authorities contradict each other

While the Attorney General’s Office in the State of Mexico said it removed the activists from the Codhem offices after the institution request it, the Codhem said it did not make the request and asked authorities to release the women. 

Alfredo del Mazo also condemned the local authorities’ actions. 

The occupation continues in Mexico City

One week after victims’ families and feminists occupied the CNDH building in Mexico City, 40 protesters traveled to the Executive Commission for Victims’ Attention (CEAV) to protest and demand justice outside the government building. 
 
Mexico City authorities deployed dozens of police officers to protect the building. 

Incident at Mexico City’s Metro

A group of women arrived at metro station Chabacano. The protesters painted some walls and demanded more security for women. 

In recent years, the metro has become a fertile ground for gender-based violence. Women often face sexual harassment incidents inside the facilities. 
 
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