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Thousands Rally in Mexico Against Trump and Pena Nieto

  • Associated Press
  • VOA News

Demonstrators march demanding respect for Mexico and its migrants, in the face of perceived hostility from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, in Mexico City, Sunday, Feb 12, 2017.

Thousands of protesters rallied in about 20 Mexican cities Sunday to denounce U.S. President Donald Trump's plans to build a border wall and also deriding their own President Enrique Pena Nieto as a weak leader who has presided over rampant corruption and violence in the country.

Local officials estimated that a total 30,000 people marched in the country's two largest cities - Mexico City, the capital, and Guadalajara.

Protesters were waving Mexicans flags and hoisting anti-Trump signs in both Spanish and English, some vulgar.

"Mexico must be respected, Mr. Trump," said a giant banner carried by demonstrators.

Many others shouted "We want bridges, not walls," in reference to Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border that he says will curtail illegal immigration and drug trafficking into the United States.

Mexico fears the U.S. president’s policies could send Latin America's second biggest economy into crisis.

Trump has also threatened the Mexican economy by warning that he will terminate the country's privileged trade relationship with the U.S., blaming Mexico for the loss of American jobs.

Trump and Pena Nieto have been locked in battle over their countries' deep ties for months, even before Trump won the presidency with promises to get tougher on immigration and trade from Mexico.

Mexico sends 80 percent of its exports to the U.S., totaling nearly $300 billion worth of goods in 2015. As for Pena Nieto, a poll showed last month that his approval ratings had hit a record low at just 12 percent, the lowest level of support for any president in decades.

Three weeks into his administration, Trump has vowed to move ahead with construction of his signature border wall, which he has repeatedly said Mexico will pay for, as well as signaling a new push to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants from the country.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have arrested hundreds of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally in raids across the country that began last week.

Trump said on Twitter Sunday morning "The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!"

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