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Students rally against Peña Nieto, Televisa

May 27, 2012

A string of marches and demonstrations unfolded across Guadalajara and much of Mexico this week, with thousands of young people taking to the streets and finding their voices ahead of the July 1 elections.

Protestors marched in 15 states on Saturday to express their displeasure with presidential frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico with an iron fist from 1929 to 2000.

Over 40,000 students and young people converged peacefully in Mexico City’s Zocalo, while around 3,000 Tapatios marched from Guadalajara’s Plaza Liberacion to the Parque Revolucion. From there, the demonstrators moved to Televisa’s Guadalajara offices to protest the influential media giant’s support of Peña Nieto, before ending the march in Avenida Chapultepec.

The student movement against Peña Nieto was galvanized earlier this month when he was heckled during an appearance at the private Universidad Iberoamericana. The PRI claimed that its political opponents had put the students up to it or even sent outsiders to disrupt the interview.

Days after the event, 131 students from the Iberoameriana posted a video online in which they displayed their university IDs and affirmed that they had not been sent by anyone, but were fed up of lies and corruption.

In solidarity with those students, the movement became known as “Yo Soy 132” (I’m number 132). The union of students from private and public universities is notable as class divisions have historically kept the former from joining the latter in political protests.

Coordinated via social networks, Yo Soy 132 held more marches in major cities across Mexico, including Guadalajara, on Wednesday night.

Unlike in Saturday’s demonstrations, the organizers of the march did not specifically target Peña Nieto, although many of those who took part made their dislike of the PRI candidate clear.

“We’re not against Peña Nieto. We’re a non-partisan movement,” explained Montse Narro, a Yo Soy 132 coordinator. “We’re a student movement, here in Guadalajara, in Mexico City, in Queretaro, Puebla, Monterrey and many other places.”

While not affiliated with any political party or candidate, Narro said that “we want people to vote, but we want them to make a conscious, informed decision to vote.”

The idea is for a more constructive focus than the ballot spoiling movement that emerged during the 2009 mid-terms. “Just complaining achieves nothing; we must make proposals and give opinions and constructive criticism,” said Narro.

Yo Soy 132 is also highly critical of Mexico’s mainstream media – especially Televisa. Carrying placards with anti-Televisa slogans, some 300 students took part in the march down Avenida Chapultepec toward the Niños Heroes Glorieta and the Televisa offices on Avenida Alemania.

“We do not agree with the way the media manipulates the news. We do not agree with the way Televisa presents things, they have to be impartial and say it how it is,” Narro said.

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