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'We want bridges not walls': Thousands in Mexico protest Trump, their own president

Thousands of protesters in more than a dozen Mexican cities took to the streets on Sunday to express their fierce opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump, portraying the new leader as a menace to both America and Mexico.

Mexico fears U.S. president's policies could send Latin America's 2nd biggest economy into crisis

Demonstrators march to the Plaza Angel Independencia in Mexico City, Mexico, on Sunday. The marchers protested the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump and President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico. (Rafael S. Fabres/Getty Images)

Thousands of protesters in more than a dozen Mexican cities took to the streets on Sunday to express their fierce opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump, portraying the new leader as a menace to both America and Mexico.

Waving Mexicans flags and hoisting anti-Trump signs in both Spanish and English, some vulgar, many protesters also heaped scorn on their own president, deriding Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto as a weak leader who has presided over rampant corruption and violence at home.

Trump and Pena Nieto have been locked in battle over their countries' deep ties for months, even before Trump won the presidency with promises to get tougher on immigration and trade from Mexico.

Mexico fears Trump's policies could send Latin America's second biggest economy (after Brazil) into crisis.

In a rare display of national unity, marchers and organizers came from across the country's deeply polarized political factions, encouraged in part by a pro-march ad campaign by Televisa, the country's dominant broadcaster.

Trump has vowed to move ahead with construction of his signature border wall, which he has repeatedly said Mexico will pay for, as well as signalling a new push to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants from the country. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump's policies a 'particular threat to Mexico'

In the Mexican capital, two separate marches were set to converge on the iconic Angel of Independence monument on the city's leafy Paseo de la Reforma avenue.

"He's such a bad man and he shouldn't act the way he does," said 62-year-old marcher Jorge Ruiz about Trump, who expressed particular anger at how the former reality TV star has insulted migrants.

One marcher carried a larger-than-life painted Trump mannequin, portraying him as an outlandish cartoon character, while others carried piñatas resembling the U.S. leader wearing floppy Mexican hats bearing pro-Mexico slogans.

A woman carries an effigy of Trump. Others carried pinatas resembling the U.S. leader wearing floppy Mexican hats bearing pro-Mexico slogans. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

"Mexicans demand respect, we want bridges not walls," read one banner carried by nearby marchers. "Trump you diminish America," read another.

Maria Paro Cassar, an organizer, said Trump has made Mexico and Mexicans in the United States "his favourite target."

"His policies are a global threat that go against pluralism and diversity and they represent a particular threat to Mexico," she added.

Three weeks into his administration, Trump has vowed to move ahead with construction of his signature border wall, which he has repeatedly said Mexico will pay for, as well as signaling a new push to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants from the country.

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto, left, shakes hands with Trump, then a presidential nominee, in Mexico City in August 2016. The two had been locked in a battle over the border wall proposal even before Trump won the presidency. (Marco Ugarte/Associated Press)

Pena Nieto's approval rating at record low

While organizers of the marches promoted them as non-partisan, many singled out Pena Nieto as a major obstacle.

"We're also marching today to demand that our own rulers put an end to corruption and so much loss of life here and actually look out for the good of the country, not just themselves," said 28-year-old office worker Victor Robledo.

Last month, a poll showed that Pena Nieto's approval ratings had hit a record low at just 12 per cent, the lowest level of support for any president in decades.

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