Hundreds of federal police blocked highways in and around the Mexican capital Wednesday in open revolt against plans to absorb the officers into the newly formed National Guard, a move that police fear could upend their jobs. The protests came as the government officially began deploying the National Guard to seal the porous southern border and control immigration and crime, the AP reports. The demonstrations threatened to complicate formation of the new force, which President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has bet Mexico's future security on. Uniformed officers blocked a major capital highway in front of federal police offices, and another contingent blocked the highway between the national capital and a state capital, Pachuca. Federal police at a Mexico City command center demanded a meeting with the security secretary. The president has been dismissive of the federal police, characterizing them as a failed security force. He gave military officers the bulk of the responsibility for the National Guard. The new agency is also seeking new recruits.
Protesting police at the command center in Mexico City's Iztapalapa borough said their seniority, rank, and benefits would not be recognized within the National Guard. National Guard Commandant Patricia Rosalinda Trujillo Mariel, one of the few leaders of the new force who came from the federal police, was jostled by the crowd as she came to meet the protesters and asked them to put forward representatives to talk. Last week, the newly appointed head of the National Migration Institute apologized for calling some federal police officers "fifi," or posh, when they complained about difficult conditions in the effort to reduce the flow of migration through Mexico toward the US. Mexico sent 6,000 National Guard members to the southern border, and thousands more have been deployed to the northern border to deter illegal border crossings. Critics say the immigration enforcement mission could distract the force from its primary responsibility of curbing violent crime.
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