Federal Police riots and threaten blockades to protest the National Guard

The officers broke off the negotiations with federal authorities

Officers from the Federal Police riot and threaten blockades to protest the National Guard
Agents from the Federal Police claim they will lose their employee benefits - Photo: Luis Cortes/REUTERS
English 04/07/2019 13:05 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Reuters Actualizada 13:07
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On Wednesday, officers from the Federal Police protested against the newly created National Guard, saying their superiors had threatened firings if they did not join the new security force, in which they allegedly face pay cuts and loss of seniority benefits.

The demonstrations highlight the concerns of hundreds of officers over being absorbed into the new militarized police, formed this year, to root out gang violence entrenched nationwide.

“They’re aiming to keep their jobs, their salaries, their schedules, their bonuses, and even their positions once they move on to the National Guard,” Iván Chévez, a lawyer representing a group of officers from the Federal Police, said in an interview on local radio.

At Federal Police headquarters and elsewhere in Mexico City, large groups of officers and their supporters held protests, including street blockades in busy areas.

Furthermore, a petition signed by “Federal Police in favor of legality and justice” listed demands such as salary hikes, a union for the Federal Police and National Guard and sought evaluation by those with police experience, rather than military officers.

Other petitions include not being discriminated for their weight or tattoos, earning MXN $30,000 per month, and not be forced to live in military headquarters, among other petitions.

In a video posted on social media, López Obrador said no police officers had been dismissed and 10,000 people had voluntarily transferred to the National Guard.

Others failed entry tests for reasons such as fitness but could continue working with Federal Police. Also, the Interior Ministry said the integration of the federal police into the National Guard will take up to 18 months.

Formally inaugurated last weekend after Congress approved it in March, the force will draw on former members of the army, police and naval police for an initial staff of 70,000 people, rising eventually to 140,000.

Those joining the National Guard will be able to retain their rank, bonuses and benefits, Mexico’s Security Minister, Alfonso Durazo said. Those who chose not to, or were not accepted, could join other federal bodies, such as the Migration Institute or Refugees Commission, he added.

But despite these claims and reassurances, yesterday morning, over 1,000 officers from the Federal Police and the Gendarmerie occupied the Federal Police's main offices because they claim they will lose their work benefits and were asked to resign before being incorporated into the National Guard.

The officers and their family members blocked several busy areas in Mexico City, Sonora, and Tepotzotlán.

On Wednesday night, officers from the Federal Police occupied a tollbooth in Tepotzotlán and allowed drivers to access the highway without paying and there were no further incidents.

Yesterday, the officers called for a national strike today and they are asking President López Obrador to accept their demands. Also, around 600 officers filed an indirect writ of amparo against their transfer to the National Guard.

The officers also broke off the negotiations with federal authorities.

In response, the President said there was someone behind the mutiny but said that they had the right to protest and reiterated that the law establishes that the Federal Police will disappear in 18 months and that joining the National Guard is a voluntary decision.

Today, officers from the Federal Police have threatened to block at least 10 areas in Mexico City, including Mexico City's International Airport.

A few moments ago, one of the officers representing the officers announced the agents will ask former President Felipe Calderón to become their union leader.

The Security Minister, Alfonso Durazo Montaño, said that the officers leading the protests are linked to interest groups that have perpetrated frauds inside the security force.


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