Riot police, steel barriers and water cannons surrounded Mexico's Congress in Mexico City as protesters promised to stop President Vicente Fox from delivering his final state-of-the-nation address yesterday, fueling fears the country's electoral crisis could turn violent.
Fox's aides have said the president would arrive at Congress no matter what for the annual political ritual.
Legislators from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) hope to prevent Fox from making the annual presidential address to Congress.
Aside from their allegations that vote counts were tampered with, leftists accuse Fox of illegally aiding conservative Felipe Calderon's campaign and funding his attacks on Lopez Obrador, who he called a danger to Mexico.
PRD deputies are expected to either drown Fox out with heckling or physically stop him from taking the podium to speak.
Calderon, who won the election by 244,000 votes out of 41 million, is expected to be named president-elect any day after the top electoral court last week threw out Lopez Obrador's fraud claims and refused a full recount he demanded.
Lopez Obrador told his supporters to gather in the central Zocalo square three hours ahead of the speech at 7pm but he did not say if they would try to march on the Congress building several kilometers away.
Thousands of protesters are already blocking the capital's center with weeks-old tent camps draped with banners calling Fox a "traitor to democracy."
Some lawmakers, worried about a confrontation, have urged Fox to stay at the presidential residence and give his speech over a video link. Others have said he should submit his annual written report in person -- as specified in the Constitution -- and leave.
Both sides have exchanged threats and angry warnings.
"The president insulted our movement and of course our movement will respond," the PRD president Leonel Cota said.
"Security teams better not touch a hair on the heads of our comrades and fellow lawmakers," warned Gerardo Fernandez, a PRD spokesman.
Deputies from Fox's National Action Party (PAN) have vowed to try to stop the leftists from halting the address.
Government officials have suggested the president might not even try to speak if the atmosphere is too rowdy, instead handing a written copy of his speech to Congress.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists