Hundreds of thousands of people followed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's call for a rally in Mexico. According to an estimate by the Mexico City Security Secretariat, 500,000 people gathered in the central Zócalo Square in the capital on Saturday (local time).
Left-wing populist President López Obrador had invited his supporters to the rally to mark the 85th anniversary of the expropriation of the oil industry in Mexico in 1938.
However, the opposition interpreted the event as a reaction to a mass protest in which tens of thousands of people demonstrated on February 26 against an electoral reform initiated by López Obrador and in favor of the INE voting institute.
"Cooperation yes, submission no"
Presidential elections are due in Mexico next year, and President López Obrador's Morena party is likely to nominate its candidates this year. "The continuity of change is guaranteed, there is nothing to fear," said López Obrador in the style of an election campaign.
Referring to recent tensions with the US, which suggested that the country's military intervene in the fight against drug cartels, López Obrador said: "Mexico is an independent and free country, not a colony or a US protectorate. Cooperation yes, submission no."
In his four years as head of state and government, the left-wing nationalist has repeatedly been accused of having autocratic tendencies.