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Anti-Trump Protesters Take To The Streets Across Mexico


As for our neighbors to the south, Mexicans are calling for boycotts of U.S. products. They're waving their country's flag - at least virtually on social media posts - and they are marching in the streets against President Trump's policies. As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, tens of thousands of Mexicans demonstrated over the weekend in a display of nationalist pride not seen in decades.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, Mexico.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Marchers shouting Mexico, Mexico circled the Angel of Independence monument and spilled down several city blocks of the capital yesterday. Similar demonstrations took place in more than a dozen cities throughout Mexico.

ANA HALLY: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: Ana Hally says she was glad to see so many Mexicans marching to defend Mexican pride, which she says has been greatly insulted by President Trump and his depiction of Mexicans as rapists, criminals and stealing American jobs.

Marta Solis says she wanted to show support of the millions of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. who she says are now under attack and threatened with deportation.

MARTA SOLIS: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "They are not alone, every Mexican stands by them," says Solis. Mexicans are not only marching in response to the rapid deterioration of U.S.-Mexican relations. Many groups are calling for boycotts of U.S. goods and chains from Starbucks to Wal-Mart. And there are campaigns to vacation at home and buy only made-in-Mexico brands.

Some U.S. citizens and longtime residents of Mexico are feeling an anti-Trump backlash. Just this Saturday, freelance photographer Ben Schreibman says he was in his Mexico City neighborhood taking pictures when he was stopped by local police who asked to see his immigration papers. He asked why, and the police said...

BEN SCHREIBMAN: Well, in your country with Trump now they're checking documents and visas and deportations. And then now they're getting very serious, so we feel that we should do the same thing.

KAHN: Schreibman says he hasn't experienced such animosity in the years he's lived in Mexico and feels it was an isolated incident. Political science professor Soledad Loaeza says relations now are tough.

SOLEDAD LOAEZA: Of course, this is like the worst moment in our recent history, but it's not the first time that we have problems with the U.S.

KAHN: There was, of course, the Mexican-American War that led to Mexico losing nearly half its territory and the nationalization of U.S. oil companies in the 1930s. But such fervor in Mexico had largely subsided in the past few decades as the country's two economies have become tightly integrated, especially since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Loaeza says Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto is also to blame for the fraying relationships with the U.S. She says Pena Nieto has been weak and incoherent in his response to Trump. His approval rating around 12 percent is the lowest of any recent Mexican president.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing in Spanish).

KAHN: While yesterday's rally in Mexico City ended with the huge crowd breaking out in a rendition of the Mexican National Anthem, chants and signs demanding their own president's resignation were on full display, too. Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.