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Mexico police suspend six officers over rape case investigations

Six police officers in Mexico City have been suspended as part of investigations into the alleged rape of two teenage girls earlier this month.

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced the decision a day after some 300 people marched in the city demanding justice.

The protesters, mostly female, chanted “they don’t protect us, they rape us” at officers.

The cases are the latest incidents to trigger outrage over violence against women and girls in the country.

The first involves a 17-year-old girl who said four policemen had raped her in their patrol car in Azcapotzalco, in the capital’s north, on 3 August. The second concerns a girl aged 16 who said a policeman had raped her in a museum in the city centre days later.

A police officer was arrested last Thursday in connection with the second case. No arrests have been made in relation to the first so far.

“There won’t be impunity nor any fabrication of guilt,”Ms Sheinbaum, the city’s first female mayor, said in a video posted on Twitter.

She did not provide details of why the six officers had been suspended.

Ms Sheinbaum, who was criticised for calling Monday’s protest a “provocation”, said the authorities were working with rights groups to implement a strategy to make the city “the safest space for women”.

“Violence against women and girls is inadmissible. In this government I’m not willing to tolerate it,” she added, acknowledging that the process to report cases of violence against women is long and that it had to change.

Mexico's security minister Jesus Orta was sprayed with pink glitter during the protests
Image captionSecurity Minister Jesús Orta Martínez was sprayed with pink glitter during the protest

On Monday, demonstrators armed with pink glitter and spray paint advanced on the building of the prosecutor’s office, smashing its door and leaving a pig’s head outside.

Security Minister Jesús Orta Martínez was covered in pink glitter when he attempted to assure the women the cases would be properly investigated.

Violence against women is prevalent in Mexico, and the United Nations estimates nine women are killed every day in the country.

The figures for reported rapes in Mexico are much lower than those in other countries which victims’ groups say is because there is very little trust in the police.

In England and Wales, almost 60,000 cases of rape were recorded by police in 2018/2019. In Mexico, fewer than 9,000 cases have been reported so far this year, according to official data.

Victims’ groups estimate that there are well over half a million cases of sexual abuse in Mexico per year with the vast majority of victims not reporting the crime.

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