Women's Day protests turn violent in Mexico

Riots broke out across Mexico City on International Women's Day as demonstrators took to the streets in protest against daily incidents of violence against women.

Demonstrators tore down metal barriers surrounding the national palace as they clashed with riot police, who responded with fire extinguishers.

Protester Juana Sanchez voiced anger and frustration at President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for not taking femicide and violence against women seriously.

"Women as young as 5 are victims of rape, murder, femicide. This country and (the President) prefer to put fences and protect themselves, not the people. We elected him to take care of us and he's not doing it. Femicide is a serious issue in this country."

According to think tank Mexico Evalua, five million women in Mexico were victims of sexual violence in the second half of 2020 alone, including cases of harassment, sexual abuse, and rape, the vast majority of which did not get reported.

Protesters on Monday also directed their anger towards Felix Salgado, a candidate for governor in Guerrero state, who prosecutors are currently investigating over accusations of rape.

Lopez Obrador has stood by Salgado, his party's candidate for midterm elections in June, describing the calls for him to step down as politically motivated.

Salgado has not responded to requests for comment, but local media reported that he has denied the allegations.