Mon, Oct 15, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Protesters egg, topple Vicente Fox statue

'PROVOCATION' A hundred protesters, many of them members of the party Fox defeated in elections seven years ago, reacted in anger to the statue in their midst

AP , BOCA DEL RIO, MEXICO

Opposition protesters egged and then tore down a bronze statue of former Mexican president Vicente Fox down on Saturday, just hours after it was erected.

Workers put up the commemorative statue before dawn in the city of Boca del Rio, in Veracruz state.

But by 9am some 100 angry protesters -- many of them members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) -- surrounded the figure. Fox, of the conservative National Action Party, ended 71 years of PRI rule with his historic election in July 2000.

The crowd launched eggs at the statue, fastened a rope around its neck and pulled it to the ground, breaking off the right hand and damaging the base.

One man danced atop the statue, while another strummed a guitar and sang songs insulting Fox.

"We came to represent society because we don't want this monument here," said Adolfo Mota, a PRI lawmaker in Mexico's lower house of Congress who led the protest.

"As residents of Veracruz, it strikes us as an act of provocation," he said.

Boca del Rio Mayor Francisco Gutierrez de Velasco, a member of Fox's party, condemned the acts but said municipal police did not intervene because the statue is the state's property.

An inauguration ceremony scheduled for yesterday was canceled until further notice.

Fox has been fighting allegations since last month that he illegally enriched himself during his presidency, and congress has opened an investigation into the charges.

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