A university student holds the Mexican flag during a protest against Enrique Peña Nieto, presidential candidate of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and to demand balance in the media coverage of the presidential race in Mexico City May 28, 2012. The “YoSoy132” movement was organized by students to create awareness of Mexico’s current political situation and media censorship, local media reported. Reuters/Edgard Garrido
A coalition of thousands of mainly university students, unionized workers, and farmers in Mexico City have taken to the streets to demand greater freedom of speech and also to protest the possible return of power by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
One banner read, “I have a brain, I won’t vote for the PRI.”
The PRI is a member of the Socialist International, but don’t let the name fool you—the party is actually quite “centrist” (the term pundits usually use to describe center-right parties) in most of its policies. PRI’s main rival is the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). (Mexican Spring poster in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, via @mexicoOWS).
Dubbed the “Yo Soy 132” movement (Twitter users can follow protest updates by searching #YoSoy132), or the “Mexican Spring” by observers, this latest wave of protests marks the third large student demonstration in less than a week.
The name “I Am 132” symbolizes the continuation of the original demonstration by 131 students during Peña Nieto’s visit to the Jesuit-run Ibero-American University (UIA).
“Our main goal is to seek greater democracy within Mexican media,” said fellow activist, Rodrigo Serrano.
The name, “YoSoy132” alludes to a group of students from the Universidad Iberamericana, who heckled PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto during a recent visit to the university that chased him off the premises.
After the incident, PRI leaders accused the Iberoamericana students of being intolerant, inconsiderate “stooges” paid to protest against Peña Nieto by the leftist PRD party.
Students claim their heckling of Peña Nieto was a grassroots event, uninspired or funded by any political party.
In particular, students have expressed frustration with the “monopolization” of Mexican politics and media. The example New America Media provides is a company named Televisa, which along with TV Azteca, controls 95 percent of Mexico’s TV market.
Similarly, students believe PRI has a monopoly of sorts on Mexican politics. The party ruled for seven decades (1929-2000), but was defeated by the National Action Party (PAN) then, which has ruled for past 12 years. The PRI now has a very good shot of winning the July 1 elections.