Mass rally for Mexico poll rival
BBC News | September 16, 2006
Tens of thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Mexico City for the climax of seven weeks of protests against the presidential election result.
Supporters of defeated candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador were expected to name him head of a parallel government.
The rally came after outgoing President Vicente Fox moved Independence Day celebrations out of the capital amid security fears.
Last week the highest electoral court threw out claims of fraud.
It declared conservative candidate Felipe Calderon the winner.
'Vote by vote'
For seven weeks Mr Lopez Obrador and his supporters have protested against the result.
They set up a tent city in the capital and only agreed to dismantle it for the Independence Day military parade.
President Fox reviewed thousands of military personnel in the city's main square, the Zocalo, on Saturday.
On Friday he gave "el grito" - the independence cry of "Viva Mexico!" - from the town of Dolores Hidalgo, 270km (170 miles) north of Mexico City, where in 1810 national hero Miguel Hidalgo established the movement for independence from Spain.
A government spokesman said the event was moved from Mexico City because of fears of radical groups planning violence.
During Saturday's military parade, small groups of Lopez Obrador supporters held up signs reading "Fox, crook" and "Vote by vote".
The Lopez Obrador campaign has been based on a call for a full recount of a vote its candidate lost by less than 1%.
Others at the parade cheered Mr Fox and president-elect Mr Calderon, who is from the president's party.
As the parade concluded tens of thousands of Lopez Obrador supporters headed for the Zocalo for their National Democratic Convention.
One supporter, Lidia Alvarado, said: "It is going to be very rough for Calderon. Wherever he goes, we'll be there to remind him he became president through fraud."
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy in Zocalo says the massive square is filling and that could allow Mr Lopez Obrador to claim a symbolic success after suggestions that support for his peaceful uprising was beginning to wane.
Mr Lopez Obrador's campaign must decide whether to continue with the street protests or set up a symbolic alternative government with him at the head.