FOR WEEKS, activists planned protests for the December 1 inauguration. When the day finally arrived, hundreds of protesters gathered at 3 a.m. in Mexico City’s Monumento a la Revolución and from there marched to the San Lázaro Legislative Palace where Peña Nieto would later take the oath of office.
The streets near the legislative chambers were lined with steel barriers 10 feet high—and hundreds of police on the other side. Determined to get to the other side, protesters vented their anger at the fence, throwing rocks at it and shaking it. When they managed to create an opening, the police responded by shooting tear gas directly into the crowd.
For the rest of the day, repeated confrontations between police and protesters—what is now being referred to as the “Battle of San Lázaro”—broke out in the streets around the legislature. While police used all their expensive weaponry, protesters fought back with sticks, rocks and the occasional Molotov cocktail.