Mexican protesters set up camp demanding president quits

Mexico City (AFP) –

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Opponents of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador set up a protest camp Wednesday in front of the presidential palace, demanding he resign over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The protesters erected dozens of small tents in the capital's central square, the Zocalo, vowing to stay until the left-wing populist known by his initials AMLO steps down.

"We will be here demonstrating in the Zocalo until Lopez (Obrador) leaves," protest leader Gilberto Lozano, a businessman from the northern city of Monterrey, told reporters.

The movement, which calls itself the Anti-AMLO National Front, has held months of protests against Lopez Obrador's management of the pandemic and the economic fallout, among other things.

"We have a dictator as president," said Guillermina Moreno, a flag-waving housewife.

"He's corrupt. The people who work with him are corrupt," the 60-year-old added.

Lopez Obrador, who took office in 2018 vowing a pro-austerity and anti-graft drive, told reporters the protesters were welcome to stay.

The country has reported nearly 75,000 coronavirus deaths -- one of the world's highest tolls.

Lopez Obrador enjoyed an approval rating of 58 percent in August, although that was far below a peak of 81 percent seen in February 2019, according to the polling firm Oraculus.