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Mexico: Bike Ride Protest Clashes With Local Government

On April 28, 2012, a group of cyclists, among them a civic organisation named Bicitekas [es], organised a bike ride which would depart from the emblematic ‘Angel of Independence’ in the heart of Mexico City, heading towards the so-called ‘Supervía Poniente‘ (Poniente Super-road) [es] in protest at the construction of the latter.

At some point along the way, local police detained a group of six cyclists, according to Mónica Tapia A. [es] (@monicatapiaa):

¿Están siguiendo #fleshandconcrete ? Detuvieron y golpearon a 6 ciclistas @BernardoPadron@Karkarkarrr por subir a #2dopiso #supervia

Are you following #fleshandconcrete? Six cyclists  @BernardoPadron@Karkarkarrr were detained and beaten for going up to the second level of the super-road #2dopiso #supervia

The ‘Supervía Poniente’ is a project led by the left-wing government of Marcelo Ebrard [es], leader of the Federal District Government. The road aim is to link the south of the city with the area of transnational corporations located to the west of the city in a district known as Santa Fé.

Image of the dispute with the local police. Taken by @alconsumidor

Santa Fé has witnessed a rapid growth in its floating population, and it is for this reason that it has become a real ordeal for those who work there to drive to work everyday due to high levels of traffic. The ‘Supervía Poniente’ aims to be a solution to this problem, but it has attracted criticism from activists who argue that the works will have a serious environmental impact.

The bike ride which took place on Saturday, April 28, was just one of the protests against the construction of the road which have been carried out.

However, according to statements from witnesses which have been posted on Twitter, the police were seen clashing with cyclists. Jorge A. G. Matalí [es] (@elMatali) reported:

Se tratan de llevar a uno para intimidarnos a todos#fleshandconcrete http://instagr.am/p/J-u0DrPz5I/

They're trying to arrest a cyclist to intimidate the rest of us #fleshandconcrete http://instagr.am/p/J-u0DrPz5I/

The organisation Bicitekas [es] (@Bicitekas) wrote:

Nuestra rodada es pacífica, ejercemos nuestro derecho a circular. #FleshAndConcrete #CarneyConcreto #Bici

Our bike ride is peaceful, we are exercising our right to circulate in the city. #FleshAndConcrete #CarneyConcreto #Bici

According to Daniel Gershenson [es] (@alconsumidor), the police made threats:

Después de la melée (donde un policía incluso amenazó con “llamar a granaderos”), prosigue Rodada #FleshandConcrete hacia L Cabrera [Avenida al sur de la ciudad de México]

After the melée (in which a policeman even threatened to “call the riot police”), the #FleshandConcrete bike ride continues towards L Cabrera [Avenue to the south of Mexico City]

Jordy M.Y. [es](@jordy_my) reported being taken to an office of the Public Ministry:

Después de un altercado que terminó en agresión de la policía de tránsito, estamos en la agencia 45 de Álvaro Obregón. #fleshandconcrete

Following a dispute which ended in an aggression by the traffic police, we are at office 45 in Álvaro Obregón. #fleshandconcrete
Image of the construction of the Supervía, María Teresa Adalid (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Image of the construction of the Supervía, María Teresa Adalid (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This fact angered some Twitter users, who question the coherence of a government which “promotes” the use of bicycles, as Juan Pueblo [es] (@ElcondeGiovanni) points out:

Congruencia y sentido común,se estimula uso de bicicleta en DF,pero no es correcto pedalear en vías rápidas y 2dos pisos #FleshandConcrete

Coherence and common sense, the use of bicycles in Mexico City is promoted, but it's not permitted to pedal in fast lanes and on second levels #FleshandConcrete

For Kar (@Karkarkarrr) the police actions are negative:

Tanta represión por parte del gobierno de @m_ebrard es asquerosa e injusta. ¿Qué daño causamos? ¿Por qué detenernos? #fleshandconcrete

Such repression from @m_ebrard‘s government is disgusting and unjust. What harm are we doing? Why detain us? #fleshandconcrete

The capital's government has not yet made a statement on the issue, and its head of government Marcelo Ebrard [es] (@m_ebrard) seems unworried when he tweets:

Las quinceañeras 2012 en el Auditorio Nacional , son 347

Fifteenth-birthday celebrations 2012 in the National Auditorium, 347 participants

These events will continue to provoke discussion, especially considering that the campaign for leadership of the capital's government was due to be launched just a few hours after the clash.

1 comment

  • […] Mexico: Bike Ride Protest Clashes with Local Government, Miguel Guevara, English translation by Eleanor Staniforth (Español aquí): On April 28 a group of cyclists organised a bike ride in protest of the Mexico City government’s project to construct the so-called “Supervía Poniente” (Poniente Super-road). According to witnesses posting on Twitter, several cyclists who were participating in the bike ride were assaulted by the police. – El 28 de abril un grupo de ciclistas convocaron a una rodada en protesta de un proyecto del gobierno del Distrito Federal llamado “Supervía Poniente”. De acuerdo a testimonios recopilados en Twitter, ciclistas que participaban en la rodada fueron agredidos por la policía. […]

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