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Merida beefs up law punishing street harassment

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Street harassment was targeted with new sanctions in Merida. Photo: Internet

Merida, Yucatan — Harassing women in the street or on a bus can lead to 36 hours in the clink, under new laws starting today.

The same law protects people from harassment based on age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender expression. Women are also defended from attacks for breastfeeding in public, under the measure.

Replacing much milder sanctions, the beefed-up provisions first came up in February.

The amendments to the Police and Good Governance Regulations were approved unanimously by City Council.

Fines can reach past 2,500 pesos, depending on the minimum wage. Offenders will also be compelled to take “social conscience” training.

Merida’s 420 municipal police, who patrol the Centro Historico — where most complaints are filed — have all been trained to handle reports of harassment.

The new provisions come with a public awareness campaign to explain what constitutes improper behavior and what to do when a bully strikes.

With information from Notimex

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