Mexicans send 74 tonnes of campaign material to the dump

February 29th, 2012 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, Feb 29 (IANS/EFE) The Mexican capital’s city government said it has hauled away more than 74 tonnes of electoral campaign material after a civic group mobilized hundreds of people to strip illegal political ads from lampposts, stop signals, bridges and trees.

Up to now, municipal authorities said in a communique, 100,471 ads have been removed amounting to some 74 tonnes of different kinds of electoral publicity including tents and banners that fail to comply with regulations governing political campaigns.

Mexico’s general elections are scheduled for July 1, but since the day the campaign kicked off Dec 19 the number of posters with candidates’ faces on them have proliferated uncontrollably around the capital.

Activist and attorney Jesus Robles Maloof said the municipal government has reacted thanks to the citizens’ initiative in which he is taking part and which several days ago began calling on citizens over social networks to tear those posters down.

“The government’s action seems a little slow to me - it should have been permanent throughout the lead-up to the campaign. What we have done is get the government moving faster, make it take action, and I hope it continues taking action permanently,” Robles said in an interview with EFE.

The initiative was started by a call to action on Twitter and because many citizens were fed up with electoral advertising invading every corner of the city.

Robles prepared a citizens’ guide with several steps to follow, which consisted of taking a picture of an illegal poster, tearing the poster down, taking another picture of the same place without the ad and posting both photos on Twitter.

“The parties have plenty of resources to try other strategies - now they profit from using public spaces and that is inadmissible,” the lawyer said.

For Robles, these ads aren’t messages for the general public at all, they’re just out to show which candidate has the most money and can therefore put up the most advertisements, which in his opinion “makes this an evil kind of competition”.

After managing to mobilize the Mexico City government, the next step for the citizens’ movement is to stop political parties from putting up illegal posters again, and at the same time, get an ordinance passed that bans this kind of advertising once and for all.

–IANS/EFE
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