Friday, September 15, 2006
WHILE THE BELL, THE INDIANS AND THE SPIRIT OF FATHER HIDALGO REMAIN IN THE ZOCALO
By Miguel Angel Gutierrez Thu Sep 14, 7:22 PM ET
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Leftist protests forced President
Vicente Fox to abandon plans to lead Mexico's main independence day ceremony in the capital on Friday, reducing the risk of violence over a hotly contested election.
Fox will instead give the highly charged cry of independence in the central town of Dolores Hidalgo, Interior Minister Carlos Abascal told reporters on Thursday.
The conservative Fox is targeted by leftists angry at what they say was fraud in the July 2 presidential vote, narrowly won by ruling party candidate Felipe Calderon.
The traditional ceremony, known as "el grito" (the shout) normally takes place in the capital's huge Zocalo square on the September 15 eve of independence day and culminates in the president shouting, "Viva Mexico!" to a flag-waving crowd.
But followers of losing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who have occupied the plaza for six weeks had vowed a rowdy demonstration against Fox there.
"They would have booed him. They would have called him traitor and stuff like that, insulted his mother," said Lopez Obrador supporter Nicolas Lopez, 63, in the Zocalo.
Posted by Jesus Reyes at 8:21 AM