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Maverick, independent candidate leads enormous peace march

June 1, 2012

Rounding off a week of protest marches, thousands of Tapatios came together to call for peace in front of Guadalajara’s Cabañas Institute on Sunday evening.

But this demonstration also contained all the hallmarks of a political rally, as it was led by Enrique Alfaro, the Citizen’s Movement candidate for the Jalisco governorship. Municipal authorities estimated around 40,000 took part, while organizers claimed the march drew over 50,000 citizens.

With these numbers Alfaro outdid his political rivals at the University of Guadalajara (UdeG), whose own peace march drew a smaller but still considerable 30,000 last week.  Alfaro has a long-running feud with the UdeG hierarchy, stemming back to the time he left the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to run for mayor of Tlajomulco under the banner of the left-of-center Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), much to the disdain of the university’s “moral leader,” former rector Raul Padilla.

In his speech, Alfaro thanked citizens for attending the march voluntarily, emphasizing that “none of them were hauled into protesting.” This was a sly reference to the UdeG, which actively mobilizes its students in protests such as these.

The march was organized three weeks ago, after death threats and the grizzly remains of a dog were sent to Alfaro’s campaign coordinator.

“We are not afraid of money nor the mafia,” declared Alfaro, describing the event as “a political march to seek peace in our state.” The popular former mayor of Tlajomulco is also representing the Labor Party (PT) and the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) headed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.  He trails frontrunner Aristoteles Sandoval of the PRI by 20 percentage points but is ahead of the National Action Party (PAN) candidate Fernando Guzman in several polls.

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