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Protesters pledge to keep Fox from delivering final address

Protesters pledge to keep Fox  from delivering final address

Police, steel barriers, and water cannons surrounded Mexico's Congress as protesters vowed 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 will arrive at Congress no matter what for the annual political ritual. But he may not reach the podium.
On Thursday, Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal said the president of the legislature, Jorge Zermeno, will decide if conditions are appropriate for Fox to deliver his address. Zermeno is a member of Fox's National Action Party. Leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who claims fraud robbed him of victory in the July 2 vote, has not ruled out sitting with allied lawmakers who have promised to disrupt the speech.
Lopez Obrador also has called on his supporters to gather hours earlier in the nearby main Zocalo plaza for a rally that some fear could turn a mostly peaceful civil resistance movement into a full-blown rebellion. Thousands of protesters are already blocking the capital's center with weeks-old tent camps draped with banners calling Fox a "traitor to democracy."
The standoff comes days as the top electoral court appears likely to resolve the presidential election in favor of Felipe Calderon, the candidate of Fox's National Action Party.
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 and leave. Both sides have exchanged threats and angry warnings.
"Security teams better not touch a hair on the heads of our comrades and fellow lawmakers," warned Gerardo Fernandez, a spokesman for Lopez Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party.
Ruling party lawmakers countered that they'll take action if anyone tries to attack the president.

Updated : 2021-10-16 03:27 GMT+08:00