In Pictures: Subdued Celebrations for Mexico’s Independence Day |

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Mexicans celebrated Independence Day without major public ceremonies for the first time in 153 years Tuesday due to restrictions on public gatherings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.Each year, the president rings the bell which marked the call to arms during the struggle of 1810-1821 for independence from Spain, and replays the Cry of Dolores by shouting “Viva Mexico! “

This cry or “grito”, gives its name to the ceremony. Independence Day is officially September 16, but has been celebrated the night before for over a century.

The event has not been canceled since 1847, during the Mexican-American War, when American troops occupied Mexico City.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador played the “grito”, but only in front of a small number of guests.

Lopez Obrador usually has no problem with crowds and doesn’t like wearing face masks, but with more than 668,000 cases of coronavirus and nearly 71,000 deaths, the fourth highest number in the world, the president has apparently been considering twice before packing up the usual 100,000 rowdy revelers in Mexico City’s main. square, known as the Zocalo.

“It’s a ceremony that you can watch on TV,” Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday. “We can all participate from our homes. “

“We will remember the dead and their families,” he said, adding, “We will light a torch in the Zocalo, a torch of hope.”

Security was so tight in the main square, where soldiers were sent to provide security and prevent gatherings, that it triggered a warning from church authorities that the troops had “taken control” of the city. the area around the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, which lies to the north. edge of the square. The archdiocese later clarified that this was a misinterpretation and that worshipers would be allowed access to the cathedral.

The pain was not felt only in Mexico City. Enrique Alfaro, the governor of Jalisco, the state famous for tequila and mariachis, had to call off a decades-old parade of “charros”, or Mexican cowboys, and declared that on Independence Day ” would happen without mass gatherings or events, to keep us safe from COVID-19 ”.

Alejandro Murat, the governor of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, known for its cuisine and crafts, said the most patriotic thing people can do is stay home and wear masks. Murat wrote that “it is important to take care of our health and that of everyone else, and it is a great way to show our love for Mexico”.

Michoacan Governor Silvano Aureoles, who is recovering from COVID-19 himself, wrote that “this year we will celebrate the freedom of our country in a different way, to take care of your health, that of your family and all the others. “

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