In Protest Against Police Raping Spree, Women Burn Their Station in Mexico City.

About two thousand people, mostly young women (many of whom identify themselves as anarcofeministas), marched and rampaged through the Zona Rosa area of Mexico City on Friday, August 16. This was the second such action in less than a week. The first, on Monday, was in direct reaction to a young woman’s accusation against four police officers whom she says raped her and to the new López Obrador-linked city administration’s inaction. (The district attorney had announced that she would close the case because the accuser did not identify the suspects on time.) On this first occasion, the women committed minor vandalism at a police headquarters and doused the police chief with pink glitter. The shocked, hysterical reactions of the local establishment, including (and perhaps especially) “progressive” government leaders, the notion that throwing glitter on somebody, especially on a cop, was more violent than the rape and murder of women, inspired Friday’s actions, where there was also glitter everywhere, along with graffiti, the destruction of at least two stations of the Metrobús (a bus system with exclusive lanes and platforms where one pays at a tourniquet as in a subway system to permit rapid boarding), and the blocking of main arteries for several hours during rush hour.

The location was apparently chosen because the main police headquarters is in the area, as is a statue, the Ángel de la Independencia, a traditional focal point for protests. The Zona Rosa is also one of the biggest GLBTQ gathering places in Latin America. I’m almost innocent: I was only stopping off there to wait out rush hour, which in Mexico City on Fridays is from 5:30 to 11 p.m. As I ascended from the Metro station, I heard jubilant and angry female voices and guessed what was happening. But it was hard to tell where the sounds came from. Some were from the Metrobús platform, some were from a circular, elevated street that defines the plaza known as la Glorieta de Insurgentes, a popular open-air hangout for young people of whatever sexual orientation. I watched for a while and didn’t see many of the people I have usually seen in about 20 years of going to marches in the city. When I finally did, I asked if there was a men’s area. They said: “In the back.” I went there and marched for a while. There were two or three groups of a few hundred people each whom I could see and other smaller affinity groups on the side streets. The ones in front asked the ones in back to hurry up, to head for the Ángel monument, but there was always another squad car or bus to paint, another window to break, another spot to make a gasoline-only bonfire. Some of the slogans:

“Pigs don’t rape. Police do.”

“Rapists’ dicks to the blender.”

While it’s true that a catharsis does not a revolution make, it is certainly preferable to the apathy, resignation, and obsession with electoral politics that have been in fashion lately.

After Monday’s protest, the mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, had said that this was an affront to the honorable and democratic police and that it surely had been the work of infiltrators. On Friday I saw no evidence of anybody who disagreed in general with the actions that were being taken, no pleas for pacifism, and in fact spokespeople for the Monday action defended everything that had happened and did not disavow anyone. I learned that the triggering incident was one of several police gang rapes that have allegedly occurred just in the past few weeks. Another was at the Hotel Pennsylvania, a prostitution-oriented hotel near the monument to the revolution. Added to this is the well-known pattern of murders of women in Mexico, all over the country, which now registers at 6 to 8 per day according to various statistics and seems to have worsened this year.

Women have been saying “Enough” for a while, but now they have said it in an inflammatory way. Literally. About a block before we got to the Ángel, I heard loud cheering again and saw and heard lots of people battering the windows and walls of what turned out to be a police station with what Arlo Guthrie used to call implements of destruction that included everything except fly-swatters. I saw that one of the doors was open and that a woman was standing on top of it to reach an air-conditioning unit; I don’t know for what purpose. But soon people moving around, their faces covered, appeared in the second-and third-floor windows and then high flames and smoke. Now I know what a burning police station smells like. As reporters and camera people appeared, mostly male, and it became difficult to know who was really a media person and who was a cop, the requests that men leave the scene became insistent, and the smell became more irritating, so I moved out beyond the edge of the crowd. I think this is when a reporter for the newspaper El Universal was apparently beaten, but by a man, one who is seen in photographs taking orders from an older man who is believed to be a police coordinator of provocateurs. The police did what they had to do: send the female officers in to take the biggest risks in order to protect the station and an adjacent office building. (Both were unoccupied, as it was around 8:30 by now.) To dispel once and for all the notion of a division between “infiltrators” and non-violent protesters, the women chanted, especially as a fire truck and the police approached, “!Fuimos todas!”: “We all did it!”

I had a euphoric feeling from the moment I arrived to the Zona Rosa, but when I saw the police station under siege I could identify specifically why: “This must be what it felt like to be at Stonewall in 1969.”

More articles by:

Johnny Hazard is somewhere where the banks won’t find him, but he can often be reached at jhazard99@yahoo.com.

September 17, 2019
Mario Barrera
The Southern Strategy and Donald Trump
Robert Jensen
The Danger of Inspiration in a Time of Ecological Crisis
Dean Baker
Health Care: Premiums and Taxes
Dave Lindorff
Recalling the Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Victims of America’s Endless ‘War on Terror’
Binoy Kampmark
Oiling for War: The Houthi Attack on Abqaiq
Susie Day
You Say You Want a Revolution: a Prison Letter to Yoko Ono
Rich Gibson
Seize Solidarity House
Laura Flanders
From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing’s Glass House
Don Fitz
What is Energy Denial?
Dan Bacher
Governor Newsom Says He Will Veto Bill Blocking Trump Rollback of Endangered Fish Species Protections
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: Time to Stop Pretending and Start Over
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Inside the Syrian Peace Talks
Elliot Sperber
Mickey Mouse Networks
September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
T.J. Coles
Jeremy Corbyn: Electoral “Chicken” or Political Mastermind?
Joseph Natoli
The Vox Populi
Sasan Fayazmanesh
The Pirates of Gibraltar
John Feffer
Hong Kong and the Future of China
David Rosen
The Likely End to Roe v. Wade?
Ishmael Reed
When You Mess With Creation Myths, the Knives Come Out
Michael Hudson
Break Up the Democratic Party?
Paul Tritschler
What If This is as Good as It Gets?
Jonah Raskin
Uncensored Tony Serra: Consummate Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ryan Gunderson
Here’s to the Last Philosophes, the Frankfurt School
Michael T. Klare
The Pompeo Doctrine: How to Seize the Arctic’s Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change (Just Don’t Mention Those Words!)
Luke O'Neil
I Would Want To Drink Their Blood: God Will Punish Them
Louis Proyect
The Intellectual Development of Karl Marx