Nine people were killed and at least 54 others injured when a stage collapsed during a campaign rally in San Pedro Garza García, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. The rally was part of the presidential campaign of Jorge álvarez Máynez, who narrowly escaped injury as heavy winds caused the stage to topple.

The incident occurred on Wednesday evening, as a strong gust of wind swept through the rally, causing the structure to collapse. Among the deceased was a minor, according to Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel García Sepúlveda. Emergency rescue operations were quickly launched to free individuals trapped under the debris.

"What we experienced happened in just a few seconds: A gale came, a sudden wind, and unfortunately, it collapsed the stage, resulting in a fatal accident," álvarez Máynez recounted. He described how musicians and attendees scrambled for safety as the stage, which included a large video screen, came crashing down. Videos shared on social media captured the chaotic moments as people screamed and ran for cover.

The aftermath of the collapse saw a swarm of emergency vehicles at the scene, with flashing lights illuminating the night as rescuers worked to tend to the injured. The area was cordoned off and secured by heavily armed security personnel. Local weather reports indicated that gusty winds from nearby thunderstorms, reaching speeds of 25 to 30 miles per hour, likely contributed to the stage's collapse.


álvarez Máynez, representing the center-left Citizens' Movement party, immediately suspended his campaign activities and vowed to stay in the state to support the victims. "We have to have solidarity; there is nothing that can repair an accident, a damage of this nature, and [people] will not be alone in this tragedy and through the consequences that this tragedy will have in their lives," he said.

The 38-year-old congressman, who was named the party candidate in January following García Sepúlveda's withdrawal, is considered a long-shot in the upcoming presidential election. The race is primarily between Claudia Sheinbaum, a former mayor of Mexico City and a close ally of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and former senator Xochitl Gálvez, who represents the opposition coalition.

In his inauguration address earlier this week, President Lai Ching-te called for an end to Beijing's military intimidation. "Facing external challenges and threats, we will continue to maintain the values of freedom and democracy," Lai asserted during a visit to a marine base in Taoyuan. He reiterated his willingness to engage in dialogue with Beijing while maintaining Taiwan's current status and avoiding conflicts that could draw in the United States and other regional partners.

China's military exercises are seen as a direct response to Lai's inauguration. The PLA's Eastern Theater Command described the drills as a "strong punishment for the separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces" and a "stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces." Chinese state media have extensively covered the drills, emphasizing their purpose and showcasing military capabilities.

The exercises involve joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, precision strikes on key targets, and integrated operations both inside and outside the island chain. These actions are intended to test the PLA's "joint real combat capabilities," according to the command's official statements.

álvarez Máynez addressed the media after the incident, noting that Civil Defense teams had inspected the stage structure prior to the event. "The weather conditions were very atypical: the rain didn't last for even five minutes ... it wasn't even a storm, it was truly atypical what happened," he said, adding that an investigation into the incident would be conducted.

Governor García Sepúlveda also issued a warning for residents to stay indoors, anticipating more strong winds, thunderstorms, and rain. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador extended his condolences, saying he "sends a hug to family members, friends of the victims and political supporters." Other presidential candidates, including Sheinbaum and Gálvez, also expressed their sympathies and solidarity with the victims.

As Mexico approaches its largest election in history on June 2, the campaign season has been marred by increasing political violence. According to the research group Data Cívica, at least 28 candidates have been attacked this year, with 16 fatalities reported as of April 1. This election cycle is on track to surpass previous records for political violence in Mexico.