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Mexico City’s first woman mayor vows to scrap notorious police unit

MEXICO City’s first woman mayor has promised to scrap the notorious granaderos anti-riot police units that are used to violently repress demonstrations and opposition groups.

Claudia Sheinbaum made the pledge as she was sworn in, saying her decision was made as a tribute to one of the demands of the 1968 student movement to prevent “the use of armed forces to repress the people.”

The leftwinger, who is a close ally of Mexico’s new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Amlo), said she hopes that a new period of politics is being ushered in across the country with a “democratic and peaceful essence” following the July elections.

“The police’s responsibility is to take care of the people, not to repress them. The transition period starts now,” she said explaining that the granaderos unit of the Metropolitan Police would be dismantled.

The unit was responsible for preserving order and crowd control during demonstrations and public events, but it was mobilised too against opposition groups and used to crush dissent.

Ms Sheinbaum remembered how the unit was used to deadly effect during the student protests of 1968 when president Gustavo Diaz Ordaz ordered police to open fire on those demanding the release of political prisoners.

Nobody has been brought to justice for the killings of dozens of civilians in what became known as the Tlatelolco massacre. 

She appeared at her swearing-in ceremony with Amlo and announced the establishment of new citizen security and civil protection commissions from next month.

Mexico City’s new mayor formed part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US presidential candidate Al Gore. 

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