A vocal group of opponents to Mexico’s polemic Interior Security Law staged a demonstration last Sunday to highlight what some consider to be the first step in establishing a military dictatorship in the country.
The Ley de Seguridad Interior, approved by both houses of the federal congress last month, creates a legal framework for the law-enforcement duties that are carried out by the nation’s armed forces. The military have been assisting in public security tasks for well over a decade, mostly in operations against drug trafficking cartels. The presence of soldiers on Mexican highways and on the streets of towns and cities is commonplace. Although military checkpoints are widely accepted as a routine part of life in many parts of Mexico, they have no legal justification.
The new law sets guidelines as to when and how the armed forces can be called into action.
Opponents say the law could be easily abused by the nation’s leaders, allowing them to order troops to break up civil protests if they wish.
The group of around 600 protestors in Guadalajara marched from the Parque Revolution to the Niños Heroes monument. Arguing that the law will bring “more risks than benefits,” members of the contingent pointed out that up until now the use of the military in law enforcement has done little to contain the violence sweeping in the country.
Demonstrators marched with banners sending messages such as, “No to militarization,” “The military to their barracks,” and “Security without war.”