I can’t very well blog about travel to Mexico without documenting one of Mexico’s less sun-shiney characteristics. Political protests and street marches are not an uncommon site in Mexico City these days. In fact, there’s a stream of protesters marching down Reforma outside of the Starbucks I’m sitting in now, preventing cars from passing through. The Mexican citizens aren’t happy with their government — more specifically, their president — and they’re speaking up. Though the protests are common and peaceful lately, they do make us feel a little uneasy, so we do our best to avoid them.
When we first saw the barricades a half block down from our apartment building, it was a Thursday, which seemed to be the choice day for a few weekly marches we’ve seen here. At least twice now we’ve witnessed protesters entering the area by the busload (executive tour buses were literally parked back to back on the block around the Secretaría de Gobernación building). And the Federales (the national police) are here, too. You can see one of their trucks parked on the left side of this week’s photo. There are always quite a few police men and women around (we see more of them than regular citizens on our frequent walk between the apartment and Starbucks), but there are a LOT more on the protest days. Though the Federales did come prepared on the day of a particularly large protest with classic clear plastic shields, we’ve yet to see one in use; they sat idly on the ground by the barrier that day.
The photo here was not taken on a Thursday, but there was still protest activity happening in the area. We’d nearly had to alter our route home as a similar barrier that stretched the full width of the street had been set up one block over (it’s been there the whole time we’ve been in Mexico). A large tented structure was (and still is) set up in the street, and as we passed we could hear slightly muffled mic-amplified voices inside. The doorway for the sidewalk that passed through that barrier was closed, but as we approached the policeman let us through.