Mexico election: nine dead after high winds topple stage during Jorge Alvarez Maynez rally

A campaign poster is seen on the ground after a stage collapsed during a campaign rally for Mexican presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez in San Pedro Garza Garcia. A campaign poster is seen on the ground after a stage collapsed during a campaign rally for Mexican presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez in San Pedro Garza Garcia.
A campaign poster is seen on the ground after a stage collapsed during a campaign rally for Mexican presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez in San Pedro Garza Garcia. | JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images
The stage collapsed during a rally for Jorge Alvarez Maynez.

The collapse of a stage during an election campaign rally in northern Mexico has killed at least nine people, including a child, and injured 63, it has been confirmed. The stage was sent flying by a strong gust of wind during an event attended by presidential long-shot candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez.

The victims “will not be alone in this tragedy,” Mr Maynez told reporters on Wednesday (22 May) night, adding that he had suspended upcoming campaign events. Afterwards, soldiers, police and other officials roamed the grounds of the park where the event took place while many nearby sat stunned and haunted by the tragedy.

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he “sends a hug to family members, friends of the victims and political supporters”. Videos of the collapse appeared on social media on Wednesday night, showing people screaming, running away, and climbing out from under metal polls.

Mr Maynez wrote in his social media accounts that he went to a hospital after the accident at a campaign rally in the wealthy suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia, near the city of Monterrey. He said there were “victims” of the dramatic crash while he was well.

“The only important thing at this point is to care for the victims of the accident,” he wrote. Samuel Garcia, the governor of the northern border state of Nuevo Leon and a leading member of Alvarez Maynez’s Citizens Movement party, said in a taped statement that “unfortunately, there are (people) injured”.

Miguel Trevino, the mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia, wrote on his social media accounts that “there are people reported trapped and injured. My prayers are with the victims”. Mr Garcia said the “strong winds blew down a stage at a campaign closer”. Events are being held in anticipation of the 2 June presidential, state and municipal elections.

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Video of the accident posted on social media showed Mr Maynez waving his arm as the crowd chanted his name. But then he saw a giant screen and metal structure toppling toward him. Mr Maynez ran rapidly toward the back of the stage to avoid the falling structure, which appeared to consist of relatively light framework pieces and what appeared to be a screen with the party’s logo and theatre-style lights.

He has been running third in presidential race polls, trailing front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena Party and opposition coalition candidate Xochitl Gálvez. The campaign has been plagued by the killings of about two dozen candidates for local offices.

The tragedy comes as the United Kingdom prepares to head to the polls for the first general election since Boris Johnson’s landslide win in December 2019. Standing in the pouring rain, Rishi Sunak announced the election would take place on 4 July.

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