Things That Matter

Protesters In Cancun Were Marching In Support Of The Latest Woman Murdered In Mexico When Police Opened Fire On Them

As Mexico continues to struggle to stem the growing violence against women, many are taking to the streets to voice their anger and frustration. From Mexico City to Cancun, women are being raped, gun downed, and murdered at staggering levels – it’s estimated that 10 women are murdered every day in the country.

And as the government fails to protect them, many are leading protests to demand action. However, the latest series of protests, which took place in Cancun after the disappearance and murder of a 20-year-old woman named Alexis, resulted in police officers opening fire on protesters and shooting at least four people.

Police opened fire on protesters in Cancun using live ammunition.

State officials and human rights activists are expressing shock and outrage after police opened fire on protesters during a march against femicide in Cancun.

Protesters were marching on city hall when police officers approached and opened fire, causing demostrators to disperse amid chaotic scenes. The newspaper Por Esto posted a photo of a police officer waving a pistol in the air. National guard agents appeared to have taken up positions around city hall after the shooting to increase security.

So far, officials have confirmed several injuries – including four journalists who were shot during the chaos.

According to the state governor, Carlos Joaquín, responsibility lay with the local police chief, who ordered officers to open fire to disperse the crowd. “I completely reject any intimidation or attack against protesters,” Joaquín said in a tweet. “I gave orders that there be no attacks and no guns at the marches scheduled for today. I will investigate the irresponsible person who gave orders that contradicted that.”

Since then, Cancun’s Municipal Public Security Secretary has been fired and the state’s head of police, temporarily suspended from his position.

While the city’s police chief, Alberto Capella, condemned the attack on the protesters and also ordered an internal investigation, adding that his resignation was on the table since six police officers in his control participated. He said “my face falls with shame.”

The violence also reflected a pattern of violence against the press. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Three Mexican journalists have been murdered in the last month, among them Arturo Alba in Ciudad Juárez, Jesús Alfonso Piñuelas in Sonora and Israel Vazquez Rangel in Guanajuato.

Protesters were drawing attention to the recent murder of Bianca “Alexis” Lorenzana – one of many women who have been killed just this year.

Monday’s protest in Cancun was called for after the dismembered body of 20-year-old Bianca “Alexis” Lorenzana, was found, days after she disappeared. It was the latest in a string of grisly crimes against women and girls in the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo.

Lorenzana’s mother had originally asked for a peaceful march to demand justice for her daughter. But partway through the demonstration she changed her mind, reportedly telling protesters: “Burn it all, because Alexis would have done that for you.”

Some on the march followed her call, breaking windows and spraying graffiti on the local prosecutor’s office, then the city hall.

The Cancún protest also reflected Mexican feminists’ growing use of “direct action”: as violence rates against women have soared, protesters across the country have increasingly resorted to breaking windows, starting fires and marking graffiti across public buildings.

Mexico is experiencing a femicide crisis and many across the country are standing up to say enough is enough.

Credit: Elizabeth Ruiz / Getty Images

It’s estimated that every single day 10 women are murdered in Mexico. That figure is just staggering and it’s causing an outpouring of grief and anger from women across the nation who no longer feel safe.

It’s also leading to more protests by an increasingly active and outspoken feminist movement, who are angry at the local and federal government for failing to stem the violence.

Activists’ frustration has focused on the country’s current leftist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has downplayed gender issues and accused feminist critics of allying with his conservative political opponents.

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