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Political Protests — México

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The months leading up to presidential elections in México tend to be volatile with lot of demonstrations. The next presidential election is scheduled for July 1, 2012. Travelers should expect to encounter widespread demonstrations during this period. Foreigners visiting México on a tourist visa are prohibited from engaging in political activity of any kind. Doing so violates the terms of the visa. The police can arrest, fine, or deport violators.

In June 2006 in the city of Oaxaca a non-violent public schoolteachers strike for higher wages turned violent when the police fired on strikers without provocation. The conflict soon escalated when hundreds of civil society groups and tens of thousands of their supporters took to the streets for seven months in a massive show of solidarity. Vicente Fox, México's President at the time, eventually responded by sending thousands of Federal Police to regain control of the city. The conflict was widely reported in the international press and several countries issued official travel advisories against traveling there. Because of the negative attention the tourist industry collapsed and the state economy, heavily dependent on tourism, was devastated. By 2008 the political situation had stabilized and tourists have begun to trickle back. The root causes of the conflict: continued poor economic prospects for many and the political corruption of the PRI, the states dominant political party, have not been resolved. Thus non-violent protests, usually on or near the Zócalo, are still breaking out sporadically. These protests are not being repressed by the police and pose no threat to tourists, only a minor inconvenience.

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