Elections results protests are shrinking in Mexico — here’s why (infographic)
Tired of screaming?
For the third week in a row, rallies were staged this weekend against election results in Mexico City. Thousands attended but it seems that protests are shrinking as the summer progresses. Why is this happening? And does this mean that people are gradually accepting the — controversial — results of the July 1st elections? Univision News sought the views of a couple of Mexico experts, but first let’s take a closer look at the numbers.
This graph shows protest attendance in Mexico City. (Data from Proceso Magazine and the Mexico City Public Security Secretariat or SSPDF)
As you can see above, a protest staged just a week after the July 1st elections garnered at least 100,000 people in Mexico City, which is where protests related to the elections have been largest.
Mexico City is the largest city in the country. And also, the place where activist groups that feel that the elections where fraudulent, have their widest base of support.
The second weekend of July, only 4,000 people attended a protest that was mostly spontaneous, and this weekend, a marcha that was organized by the #YoSoy132 student movement [and other social groups] and promoted as part of a new strategy to “resist” the “imposition” of PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, only garnered some 30,000 people.
Does this mean that the #YoSoy132 student movement and the rest of the “anti-imposition” crowd is losing support?
Eric Olson the Mexico Program Director at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Affairs in Washington DC, believes that we should not jump to conclusions. According to Olson, numbers have dwindled due to the ongoing holiday season in Mexico. “Participation will dwindle with events as it’s hard to keep momentum going,” Wilson told Univision News. “An event after the court’s response on the election [slated for September 6] should portray a more accurate snapshot of the [anti-fraud] movement’s support.”
Political analyst Hector Faya disagrees with Olson. Faya is a politics professor at Mexico City’s Iberoamericana University who is not affiliated to any of Mexico’s parties. He says that these lowering numbers can be attributed to changes within the YoSoy 132 movement that have alienated some Mexican citizens. “There has been a fundamental change in the movement’s mission, allegiances, and means…they bring to mind old days of intolerance and 2006’s radicalism…polls have shown people do not agree with radical social movements,” Faya said.
Too Radical? Professor Hector Faya says that the YoSoy132 movement has alienated some citizens.
Leftist candidate Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador launched a massive wave of protests, after he lost the 2006 election to Felipe Calderón. The protests, which managed to block central Mexico City for weeks, polarized the country and turned Lopez Obrador into a highly controversial figure.
Some social research suggests that #YoSoy132 has also had somewhat of a polarizing effect.
A poll by Defoe suggests that 23% of Mexican voters changed their vote after learning about YoSoy132 and its activities, and out of these, 66% did not vote for Lopez Obrador. Those who changed their voting preference could be avoiding protests organized by YoSoy132 nowadays, because they believe that this group is too radical.
“The [YoSoy132] agenda practically says they will do what Lopez Obrador did in 2006,” Faya pointed out.
Lopez Obrador is currently refraining from calling on his supporters to take the streets. Instead, his team is busy gathering evidence of voting irregularities such as vote buying and excessive campaign spending by the PRI. Lopez Obrador is attempting to convince Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal to invalidate the July 1st elections on the grounds that there was an excessive amount of irregularities that prevented a fair contest from taking place. It seems that he does not want to damage his image amongst those who are wary of street protests.
(Infographic by Ana Maria Benedetti)