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Patriotic festivities overshadowed by weather, protests and sports

September 17, 2012

Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations on Saturday night were overshadowed by a potent cocktail of torrential rain, political unrest and boxing.

Tens of thousands packed the plazas in Mexico City and Guadalajara to witness the traditional “grito,” delivered for the final time by President Felipe Calderon and Governor Emilio Gonzalez respectively. But in both sites rain lashed down from the heavens, as if Tlaloc were manifesting his discontent with the state of the nation.

He would not have been the only one. Among the 100,000 rain-soaked spectators in the capital’s Zocalo were among 3,000 protestors from the #YoSoy132 student movement.

They made clear their disdain for Calderon by shining lasers in his face and shouting “murderer!” as well as voicing their displeasure at the outcome of the presidential election with chants of “fraud” and “Mexico without the PRI.”

In Guadalajara, Gonzalez was also booed by around 50 members of #YoSoy132’s Jalisco chapter, but he kept his cool, noting that “they have a right to be in the public square and express themselves, their presence is a sign that Mexico has changed, this was not possible before.”

Further political protest ensued when computer hackers brought down a number of government websites, leaving messages denouncing the “stolen” elections; the “imposition” of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto; and Calderon’s “mismanagement” of the economy and his war on the nation’s drug gangs.

“We are not criminals, we are students, workers and productive Mexicans who are fed up and looking for a way to express our disagreement,” read the statement from “Mexican Cyber Protest,” a group distinct from infamous hackers “Anonymous.”

As if further distraction from the “grito” were needed, Mexico’s biggest television networks Televisa and TV Azteca were quick to switch coverage from the celebrations to two boxing matches in Las Vegas featuring Tapatio boxing hero Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The former easily overcame Josesito Lopez, but the latter was defeated by Argentina’s Sergio Martinez.

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