A nascent student group calling itself Yo Soy 132 (or I Am 132) held its second national march June 10, in protest of Mexican presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto. Estimates had the crowd numbers in Mexico City alone at over 90,000–almost double the estimated 46,000 that were present for the first march against the candidate in mid-May.
Much of the recent organizing in the country has been explicitly against the possible victory of Peña Nieto, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI by its Spanish initials, that is positioned to potentially return to power after 12 years out of the presidency and before that over 70 years in power. The PRI is considered by many to have been an authoritarian regime, and some Mexicans fear the possibility that with the return of the PRI, there could also be a rollback of freedoms in this still fledgling democracy.
Recent momentum and interest in what many had considered to be a lackluster presidential campaign has been credited to the development of this new student movement. At a campus visit by Peña Nieto to the Universidad Iberoamericana (known as the Ibero) on May 11, students at this private university surprised many by surrounding the conference and shouting accusations, questions and demands that the candidate leave the campus. Amidst this unexpected protest, Peña Nieto left abruptly, with students in pursuit. Videos of the scene were quickly uploaded to various social media networks, and images of the candidate fleeing the campus immediately went viral.
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The Americas Program