Mexico City’s Angel of Independence Monument Vandalized by Protestors
By Danielle Dorsey
Content warning: This article discusses sexual violence against young girls.
“Glitter protests” erupted in Mexico City over the weekend as demonstrators took issue with what they felt was a lacking response from local police into the investigation of two teenage rape victims. The city’s local police chief was doused by protestors in glitter and the city’s famous Angel of Independence monument was defaced with graffiti that read “They don’t take care of us” and “rape state.”
The Angel of Independence monument commemorates Mexico’s independence from Spain and is a popular site for celebrations, including the city’s annual gay pride parade.
Time Magazine reports that demonstrators also emblazoned the walls of a nearby police station with the word “rapists” and trashed a major bus station. The Associated Press reported that some female protesters were physically harassing men during the Friday demonstration.
Six police officers were suspended last week while officials investigate the two rape allegations. The first case involves a 17-year-old girl who claims four policemen raped her in their patrol car on August 3rd. Another 16-year-old girl says that a police officer raped her in a museum in the city center days later. Last Thursday, a police officer was arrested in connection with the second case, but no arrests have been made in the first. The mayor did not provide details as to why the officers were suspended.
Protestors argue that these cases point to a larger, systemic issue of violence against women in Mexico. They are calling for the resignation of Mexico City mayor Claudia Steinbaum and accuse her of caring more about public property than the safety of women.
In a 2019 report, Human Rights Watch said that Mexican laws “do not adequately protect women and girls against domestic and sexual violence.” They pointed out provisions that base the severity of punishments for sexual offenses upon the perceived chastity of the victim, saying that such laws “contradict international standards.”
A wooden wall has been constructed around the Angel of Independence monument while city workers work to remove the graffiti. The monument was already scheduled for repairs due to damages from the September 2017 earthquake, but those restoration plans have been fast-tracked following recent vandalism.