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At least 9 dead in strong winds at election rally

WorldAt least 9 dead in strong winds at election rally

At least nine people were killed, including one child, and dozens were injured when a stage structure collapsed at political campaign rally in Mexico on Wednesday night.

Strong winds brought the stage down at the event in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, injuring at least 63, the country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, confirmed.

No further details on those killed and injured have been released.

The rally in San Pedro Garza Garcia, near the city of Monterrey, was organized by the center-left Movimiento Ciudano, or Citizen’s Movement. The event was to promote Lorenia Canavati, mayoral candidate for San Pedro, and long-shot presidential candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez.

Video uploaded to social media shows both candidates running from the stage — Máynez said on social media he and other members of his team were treated in hospital, but he said “I am fine.” The rally was also attended by the popular Mexican band Grupo Bronco.

Canavati had promoted the event on her X account just before it began on Wednesday, posting an image showing the full extent of the stage.

Videos of the collapse on social media showed people screaming, running away and climbing out from under metal polls.

The victims “will not be alone in this tragedy,” Máynez told reporters Wednesday night, adding that he had suspended upcoming campaign events.

Afterward, soldiers, police officers and other officials roamed the grounds of the park where the event took place, while many nearby sat stunned and haunted by the tragedy.

The president said he “sends a hug to family members, friends of the victims and political supporters.” Condolences poured in from across Mexico, including by other presidential candidates.

In a video message, Nuevo Leon Gov. Samuel Garcia, a leading member of the Citizen’s Movement party, asked residents to shelter in their houses for the next two hours.

Máynez said on social media he went to a hospital after the accident, but was in good condition.

“The only important thing at this point is to care for the victims of the accident,” he wrote.

Videos of the accident showed Máynez waving his arm as the crowd chanted his name. But then he looked up to see a giant screen and metal structure toppling toward him. He ran rapidly toward the back of the stage to avoid the falling structure, which appeared to consist of relatively light framework pieces as well as what appeared to be a screen with the party’s logo and theater-style lights.

Máynez has been running third in polls in the presidential race, trailing both front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena Party and opposition coalition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez. Both sent their condolences, and Sheinbaum canceled a campaign event in nearby Monterrey the next day “in solidarity” with victims and their loved ones.

“My condolences and prayers with the families of the dead, and my wishes for a speedy recovery to all those injured,” wrote Gálvez in a social media post.

The accident happened at the height of campaign season, with many events held this week and next in anticipation of the June 2 presidential, state and municipal elections.

The campaign has so far been plagued by the killings of about two dozen candidates for local offices. But it has not been marred by campaign accidents.

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