Human Rights and Civil Society

From Tlatelolco to Ayotzinapa: A Protest for the Disappeared

Over 50,000 people united in protest over the disappeared in Tlatelolco and Ayotzinapa
Over 50,000 people united in Mexico City to protest the disappeared in Tlatelolco and Ayotzinapa. Source: el

10/4/2015 (by emartinez)- The October 2 massacre commemorative manifestation began under a united voice of “no more impunity and justice”. Named “From Tlatelolco to Ayotzinapa,” the protest involved all sectors that are in pursuit of “truth and justice” from the past and present actions by the Mexican government.

While Tlatelolco´s massacre was the main motivation for the October 2 protest, public outrage against last year’s happenings in Ayotzinapa, when 43 students at a teachers´ college in southern Mexico vanished, reminds the Mexican government of the legacy of the disappeared in the country.

The 1968 Tlatelolco massacre happened when federal police attacked unarmed students who were protesting near The Three Cultures Square in Mexico City, against the Institutional Revolutionary Party´s rule (Partido Revolucionario Institucional- PRI), political exclusion and police violence. Estimates of the death toll ranged from 30 to 300, with eyewitnesses reporting hundreds dead.

It is important to remember that the parents of the 43 vanished students, succeeded in meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto on September 24, 2015, in order to be informed and present some petitions regarding the investigations of the student´s case. Some of the petitions presented in that day were: the public legitimation of the protest and to maintain the investigations open, to follow the interdisciplinary independent expert’s group recommendations regarding the case, to create a specialized investigation unit conformed by two sections under international supervision that will follow up the investigations regarding the students whereabouts and the disguised truth that the government tried to make up, to do a new research with updated technology, to stop criminalizing the students and the “Normal Rural Isidro Burgos” teacher´s college by relating them to crime and finally to recognize the impunity and human right violations that have plagued the Mexican state.

Moreover, on this year´s October 2 manifestation, members of the “68 committee,” the committee responsible for the organization of the movement and seeks for the prosecution of the persons involved in the massacre, demanded the reopening of 53 pending prosecutor´s investigations for the October 2 massacre. Mexican politicians including Luis Echeverria have been under investigation, specifically, since he may have ordered the Mexican police force to open fire on unarmed students that day.

At least 50, 000 persons marched through the city to commemorate the tragedy in peaceful protest. Nevertheless, once the protest was over, a group of self-called anarchists attacked federal and local police officers who were guarding the National Palace, located in Mexico City’s downtown square. Four persons were arrested following the attacks. According to Mexico City’s Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa, the attacks were caused by “the same groups as always”.

Carrying banners and chanting antigovernment slogans, protesters participating in the “From Tlatelolco to Ayotzinapa” march remind the government that the disappeared have not been forgotten and that answers must be given. Although, there have been several massacres (such as the 68 massacre, Atenco´s massacre and now Ayotzinapa´s) among Mexican history this is the first time that the October 2 manifestation joins Ayotzinapa´s against the government looking for answers and demanding no more impunity.


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