Mexico City, May 6 (EFE).- President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that while he respected the opposition’s right to protest, his administration’s goal was to carry out a complete “transformation” of Mexico.
“It took us a long time (to get here) and, as you can understand, we did not come here to be florists or adorn the place. We want to carry out the transformation of the country,” Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, said during his daily press conference at the National Palace.
The founder and leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) said the opposition, which took to the streets on Sunday, had “the right to demonstrate” and he hoped they would “continue to demonstrate with freedom.”
“It took us a long time to remove the conservatives from the government. It took 36 years and our country was nearly completely destroyed,” AMLO, who lost the 2006 and 2012 presidential elections amid accusations of elections fraud, said.
Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, said that when the left was in the opposition, he organized “hundreds and thousands of protest marches.”
“It was a lot of fatigue, beatings, suffering to get in. Since it cost us so much and we suffered from repression, it would not make sense on our part to not allow the free expression of ideas,” AMLO said.
The president praised the “existence of this opposition and that it demonstrates,” but he repeated that it would not alter his government’s focus, which consists of “a new policy.”
“When we triumphed, we said that it was not going to be a change of government, but a change of regime. We were going to put an end to corruption, privileges, the luxuries of government, and we were going to respect everyone, but we were going to give preference to the poor,” the president said.
Thousands of people took to the streets Sunday in Mexico City and other cities for protests organized over social media against Lopez Obrador’s policies.
Some 4,000 people marched from the iconic Angel of Independence to the Monument to the Revolution, chanting slogans such as “AMLO out” and carrying signs with messages critical of the president.
The most common complaints were directed against the “authoritarianism” of Lopez Obrador and his policies, which the protesters said were dividing Mexico.
The protesters also demanded security and the fulfillment of campaign promises.
Former President Vicente Fox, who governed Mexico from 2000 to 2006 and belongs to the conservative National Action Party (PAN), participated in a demonstration in the central state of Guanajuato.
Fox is a long-time political rival of Lopez Obrador.