Do not wear a mask. That was the terrible crime that led to the arrest and alleged murder of Giovanni López at the hands of municipal police in the state of Jalisco on May 4.
This 30-year-old bricklayer was arrested and, just over 24 hours later, his relatives collected his body at the hospital, with blows, bruises and a bullet in the leg. The case, which occurred in Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, about 40 kilometers from Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco, slept for a month, until the video of the arrest, which shows how they forcefully put him in a patrol car and a prophet screams in the background “If they kill him we already know”, was published on June 3 and made Giovanni the George Floyd of Mexico.
As in the case of the American citizen suffocated under the knee of a policeman in Minnesota, the video, the image, released an accumulated tension in the form of demonstrations. If in the United States it is racism, in Mexico the trigger is the police brutality and the systematic abuses of the forces of order take into account extrajudicial killings such as Tatlaya, Apatzingán or Tanhuato; more than 90% of reported crimes are never solved and only four out of ten people do not trust either municipal or state.
In Mexico, for a moment that the coronavirus it charges between 300 and 600 people a day and its more than 14,000 dead make it the seventh country in the world on the red podium but there is no obligation that the population be confined, thousands took to the streets in Mexico City and Guadalajara to protest the police abuses during the first weekend of June.
It is ironic and sad that the protests in Gaudalajara, the second largest city in the country, will result in more complaints of arbitrary arrests and police abuse. For example, six of the detainees were transferred Tuesday morning to the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in Jalisco, according to NGOs, without notifying their defense or presenting evidence.
– Alberto Arnaut Estrada (@asarnaut) June 9, 2020
The Giovanni case and the protests can also be considered one of the first sets of the electoral battle that will take place between President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the opposition governors for the 2021 midterm elections.
Nearly half of the state governments and the entire Chamber of Deputies play in them; which will be followed by the consultation announced for 2022 in which a referendum will be held to see if López Obrador is still in the presidency or not. And one of the most belligerent governors against the president is Enrique Alfaro, linked to the National Action Party and Citizen Movement, similar to the Popular Party and Spanish Citizens.
Alfaro accused López Obrador of being behind the protests in Jalisco (“Behind everything that is happening in this case in Jalisco there are interests, very precise and very specific, built from Mexico City, from the basements of power”) .
The president asked him for evidence of his accusation and Alfaro backed down. And, given the evident abuses that were taking place in Guadalajara, he ordered the release of most of the detainees and to ensure that those who were not located returned to their homes.
The mask is a symbol of the clash between the two policies in the face of the pandemic: López Obrador and the federal government that did not want to use the public force to implement the sanitary measures, and Alfaro and his state government, which ordered the police to compel the people to fulfill them.
It was the street that led the State Prosecutor’s Office to ensure that on May 5 they had already informed him of Giovanni’s arrest and death and that he had started an investigation. What is curious is that it was after all the noise that the arrest of the Ixtlahuacán municipal police commissioner and two middle managers were announced and until then they continued working without anyone bothering them.
In Mexico City, last Friday there was a first march that included stones, molotov cocktails against the United States embassy, destroyed commercial premises … the police in the capital came to the end, but it was enough to kick the head of one of the protesters, who turned out to be a minor named Melanie and had to be admitted.
This led to a new march being called in the capital on Monday, mainly protesting the assault on the 16-year-old girl but also the police abuses. The protesters were mainly women’s groups and some of the masked men during the demonstration registered various damages to businesses and buildings.
– RIOT BOY (@Riotboymx) June 5, 2020
In the context of this political battle, López Obrador presented on Tuesday an alleged confidential document that proposes a strategy to weaken him and his party in the face of the 2021 midterm elections and accused a Broad Opposition Bloc of opposition that includes journalists of plotting , politicians and businessmen. Many of the alleged promoters have distanced themselves, although they have remarked that trying to organize is a right of the opposition.