Members of the women police squad are taught how to use a riot shield and not to be provoked by protesters
At a police station in Mexico City, women train with riot gear in preparation for an International Women’s Day march in one of the countries hardest hit by gender-based violence.
The squad of 500 officers is tasked with ensuring the demonstrations that draw thousands of women do not block roads or damage public property.
But they question some of the protesters’ methods.
She favors empathy to show the protesters “that this uniform is not what they think,” and that her officers only seek to contain — not repress — them.
In recent years, protests against gender-based violence have brought together thousands of women in the capital and other Mexican cities.
Recent victims include Michelle Perez Tadeo, a 29-year-old television host and model whose body was found last month in a wooded area on the outskirts of the capital.
– ‘Stay calm’ –
She also shows them how to use the shield in cases of aggression and how not to be provoked.
Even though the protests put them in direct confrontation, some policewomen emphasize the importance of the feminist struggle to them.
The police’s special gender unit is investigating hundreds of cases of alleged abuses committed against female police officers by colleagues and superiors.
She believes there are better ways to express discontent.
Although the squad says that its role is not to oppress, some protesters accuse them of doing just that, such as when they use fire extinguishers to put out the firebombs and disperse people.
“There’s very little training in restraint. They act like a male oppressor,” said the woman, who asked not to be named.