Former presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on his supporters over the weekend to surround Mexico's Congress to prevent lawmakers from voting on the energy industry reforms proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Lopez Obrador, leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement, or Morena, urged his supporters at a rally Sunday in Mexico City to engage in civil resistance to keep the reforms from becoming law.
The former Mexico City mayor asked his followers to select among three protest options, including peacefully surrounding the two houses of Congress in the capital or surrounding the 32 state legislatures, to prevent lawmakers from voting on the energy industry reforms.
Lopez Obrador called on his supporters to use every protest tool at their disposal, including launching a campaign on social-networking sites and gathering on Oct. 27 for a rally in the Zocalo, Mexico City's largest plaza.
The third option is a combination of protest tactics, Lopez Obrador said.
Morena members and supporters were given ballots to vote on the protest method they preferred, with the results expected to be announced on Monday.
Peña Nieto will be given a second chance to revise his reform package and ask Congress to hold a national referendum on opening the oil industry to private investment, a proposal announced in August, Lopez Obrador said.
If the reforms are approved, foreign oil companies will be sent letters advising them that the legal changes are not legitimate because they were enacted without consulting Mexican society, the leftist politician said.
Opponents of the energy industry reforms will act prudently and will not resort to "emotional venting, or provocations or the trap of violence," Lopez Obrador said.
Peña Nieto unveiled energy industry reforms in August, calling for changes to two articles in the Mexican Constitution to modernize the sector by allowing private investors to play a bigger role without stripping the nation of its ownership of natural resources.
The president said he wanted to reform Article 27, which President Lazaro Cardenas added to the constitution during his 1934-1940 term, to open the way for contracts that allow state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, to share profits with private sector companies.
Pemex has a monopoly on the production of oil and gas, as well as on the production of petroleum derivatives and the distribution of gasoline, in Mexico. EFE