Support for women's strike in Mexico gains ground

MEXICO CITY, Feb 21 (Reuters) - A women's event in Mexico planned for next month, fueled by growing disgust with a spate of high-profile femicides, gained ground on Friday as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said public servants could participate.

During his regular morning news conference, Lopez Obrador said government workers could join the event but suggested some activists were simply seeking to use the protest to undermine his government.

The strike is scheduled for March 9. Promotions began circulating this week on social networks under the slogan "A Day Without Women." It comes amid public outrage sparked by the murder of a seven-year-old girl and a woman skinned by her partner.

Lopez Obrador said he will respect the strike and there will be no punishment for civil servants who join. But he did not openly support the event and asked women to take care "not to be manipulated."

"(We must) be careful because conservatism, the right, is very hypocritical," he said. "They promote these movements against progressive governments."

If the event takes place, it would be the first national strike featuring only women in the history of Mexico.

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"Not a woman in the streets, at work, in schools, in universities or shopping," reads the call to strike being distributed on social media.

Interior Minister Olga Sanchez declared her support. "Solidarity as a woman, and in my personal capacity, I join the #NationalStrike on March 9," she wrote in a post on Twitter.

Opposing political parties have voiced their support for the strike. (Reporting by Raul Cortes Fernandez; Writing by Julia Love and David Alire Garcia; Editing by David Gregorio)

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