Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mexico election: AMLO sics his followers on the press

Reporters and broadcasters were attacked while trying to make their way to the press area assigned to them for AMLO's big speech in front of the election magistrate's offices. And what's more, according to at least one journalist, it's been going on for a long time, back through the campaign.

She said that AMLO's handlers force the reporters to pass through the mobs of AMLO's supporters in order to get to their assigned areas. As they pass, or attempt to pass, they are subjected to insults, foul language, assaults and damage and theft of their equipment. In this latest incident, a reporter from Instituto Mexicano de la Radio (IMER) had his cell phone ripped out of his hands in the middle of a live report to his station, a reporter for El Economista, Elena Michel, was shouted at, punched and was tossed into a mud puddle along with a photographer who had landed there seconds before, two cameramen from Telefórmula who were trying to transmit had to run to security police for protection and a reporter for TV Azteca suspended his live broadcast because of the filthy language.

Here is what the El Economista reporter, Elena Michel, had to say:
"I understand the manipulative speech of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the effect he tries to unleash upon his people because he has always argued that everyone and everything is against him. For that reason I can tolerate and handle the aggression and the insults of his followers because so many of them follow his every word blindly and he has now added the media to the vast plot against him and his vehemence to attain the presidency."

"But what I cannot tolerate is the logistics and security team of Andrés Manuel López Obrador intentionally exposing the physical integrity of the reporters who cover his day-to-day activities."
She described the attitude of AMLO's logistics team, headed by Nicolás Mollinedo, as irresponsible and said that such an attitude "has been characteristic of the entire campaign of López Obrador and was on display when Mollinedo's second in command, someone who calls himself "Puma", encountered us soaking wet (from being thrown in the puddle) and just smiled at us ironically."

According to this report from El Economista, its reporters Sheila Amador, Humberto Ortiz and Hugo Salazar have also been victims of aggression from AMLO's team and his supporters.

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