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Mexican Voices of Anarchy Tell Why They Wreaked Havoc in Mexico City

An injured riot cop is assisted by his partners in crime.

An injured riot cop is assisted by his partners in crime.

Mexico Voices Note: Yesterday, Dec. 1, while ceremonies for the inauguration of Enrique Peña Nieto were being carried out in the Chamber of Deputies and the National Palace, self-identified anarchist groups added themselves to a large but peaceful protest of “Opposition to the Imposition” groups, including #YoSoy132 and the dissident National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers among others.
The hooded and masked anarchists threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police cordons around the Chanber of Deputies and at other cordons that closed off the Zocalo, the main plaza where the National Palace is located. They headed along Juarez Avenue, a large street leading away from the Zocalo area, which continues on toward Reforma and the Monument to the Revolution. Along the way, they used metal and wooden poles and stones to break windows of many establishments. Some small fires were set in garbage cans.

Alejandro Saldívar, Processo, 1 de diciembre de 2012

Homer is an anti-establishment man in his fifties who is standing behind a tree, shouting: “Murderous cowards, we have six more years to be fed up.” He carries stones that the younger ones can use as projectiles. He has the marks of two rubber bullets on his abdomen.

“I was homeless for 21 years and have lived all the injustices. I was a migrant and now I’m a farmer in the state of Hidalgo. Peña Nieto is a president of the oligarchy and all kinds of mafias. I would rather die here than live under a murderer,” he says with both nostrils swollen from tear gas.

It was as if Homer had decided to swap his life in exchange for keeping a man from occupying the presidential chair. At times, hooded men and women sing hymns of the Spanish Civil War: “Black storms shake the air, dark clouds blind us …”, and that gives them strength and they breakup the sidewalks and break posts and hurl stones at a gray police shield.

Protesters peck at the curb to get stones, with the sun making spots of shade as if they were decals.
“It is necessary to contain the beast”, says one of the hooded ones.

In the distance, the metal police fence provides a docile sensation: a great extended being, shivering with the cold. The stones are only screams thrown by the crowd. They bounce off the fence and an echo responds. Behind the gray wall, the police answer with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas.

The Molotovs have arrived!

The Molotovs have arrived!

In the shade of a tree, a couple of youngsters prepare Molotov cocktails: gasoline, sugar, a bottle and a rag. The bottles spit fire on the wall of the police.
“Let’s show our anger against the system, companions” say the howls of rage.
Signs below the footbridges [over the highway] read: “We are not guerrillas, but soon we will be.”
“We’re sick of the candidates of imperialism. It isn’t Peña, it’s the Yankees who want to strip us of our sovereignty,” says Juan, 34 years old. “All my life I’ve been in the service of submission, I’m tired,” he says after receiving two rubber bullets.

Another injured cop being loaded into an ambulance.

Another injured cop being loaded into an ambulance.

Inside Congress, Peña Nieto is sworn in. Outside, the protesters retreat, the wall and the crumbs of stones mark the culmination of the rebellion …

A plague of locusts

In Juarez Avenue, the windows break like a cracking of nuts. The whole fury contained during the campaign is unleashed:
“Peña Nieto… it is only the first day,” reads graffiti on newsstands on Juarez Avenue.

Like locusts in the fields, the anarchists act like any large groups of the same species when they join together. They jump from phone booth to phone booth, traffic light to traffic light. Anarchists are like a plague of locusts that destroys everything in its path: banks, restaurants, shops, statues, monuments, security cameras. The glass shatters, the shutters close.

“If the media are silent, the walls scream,” shouts a hooded woman while her fellow rebels paint subversive slogans: “War on capitalism”, “Shit imperialist”, “Mexico has no president”, “Out with murderer EPN”.

Bank alarms howl. The police try to stop the agitation. Impossible. Protesters manage to put up barricades to prevent the passage of the police. A motorcycle is in flames. A sculpture is arm-less. A phone is without a receiver. A security camera is on the sidewalk. Mannequins in ATM’s with broken screens.

Some centripetal force disperses them along Reforma towards Insurgentes [two main boulevards]. They are hooded, those who rant against the symbols of economic power: Hilton, Starbucks, Sanborns, Telmex, CFE [Federal Electricity Commission], Oxxo [a Mexican version of “7-11”], KFC, McDonald’s, Meliá [hotel chain], Ixe [a Mexican bank]. They reduce shop windows to galaxies of glass, to rubble.

On a fountain in Reforma Avenue one reads:
“The hour has arrived. Direct action “…”We plunder stores and rob gasoline.”

In the plaza of the Revolution Monument, Zyanya is expectantly facing the police with a scarf over her face and a stick with a spike on the end.

“A human being’s worst mistake is resignation,” says the 17 year old student. “Direct action is the only way that the State has left us. Only thus can social protest be re-established. And we must do so without fear, and the people don’t have to get mad because we are all fucked the same way,” she continues.

Jacqueline is 19, with a mindset installed on the pedestal of anarchy.

“All of today’s violence is directed. We loot shops and steal gasoline. They are things that deep down belong to us. With this we made Molotov cocktails,” she boasts. “The economic order is a means of oppression.  If it weren’t for that, the people would get pissed off when we break the windows of Oxxos, Starbucks, Sanborns [upscale department store owned by Carlos Slim], the banks. They have educated us so, to fear capitalism. Ours is an act of resistance,” she says as if reciting. “If the repression continues, the struggle will continue,” she ends her thoughts.

Hours afterwards, workers in the stores on Juarez Avenue sweep up the disaster. The violence by the government and the violence by extreme left-wing groups proved useless:

“Yes, I understand the criticism of capitalism, but in the end, it is the world that we have …” says Ricardo, one of the employees of one of the damaged buildings.



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