Mexican police revolt against plans to join newly-formed National Guard

World Today

In Mexico, hundreds of Federal Police officers agreed to lift their blockades of highways in and around Mexico City. They’ve been protesting their transfers to Mexico’s newly-created National Guard.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports from the Mexican capital.

These are members of Mexico’s federal police force – pushing and shoving – in protest at the federal police command center here in Mexico City. They fear they will lose their seniority if they’re transferred to Mexico’s new National Guard.

The National Guard’s top commander, Patricia Trujillo, herself a former federal police officer, tried to calm things down, but she too was shoved.

Their protests on Wednesday lasted hours and blocked key highways in around the Mexican capital, creating massive traffic jams.

Alejandra Baez Villanueva, Federal Police Officer, said, “We just want them to respect our seniority, because for (members of) the army and the navy they respect it and for us as federal police they don’t. We are federal police officers and human beings, and all of us have families, and we cannot be left without a job because our families depend on us.”

On Sunday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador inaugurated Mexico’s National Guard, the country’s newest security force. AMLO, as he’s called here, will use the guard, in part, to fight organized crime.

Thousands of National Guard troops have also been deployed to southern Mexico, where their most high-profile job is deterring undocumented immigrants from Central America.

Local media report that National Guard troops have been entering migrant shelters in Chiapas State. Mexico’s president said the existence of this new force doesn’t threaten the jobs of former federal police.

“No one will be fired. They will all keep the same salaries and same benefits, and no one will be forced to transfer to a different organization,” President López Obrador said.

One security analyst said the protests erupted because the current administration didn’t provide federal police enough details about the transfers.

“There was never an effort to meet with the federal police until yesterday. We know the Secretary of Security had not sat down with the nonconformists. So it’s no wonder they’re having trouble creating the new National Guard force, which is made up of people from the Army, Marines and Federal Police,” Javier Oliva, Security Analyst said.

Mexico’s federal police on Thursday promised to lift their blockades for the time being, as the president pushes forward with plans to use the National Guard to confront some of this country’s highest-profile social problems.