Mexicans march on anniversary of 43 students’ disappearance along Paseo de la Reforma

September 27, 2015 2:24 am

 

People march along Paseo de la Reforma on the one year anniversary of the disappearance of 43 college students. Photo / AP

Thousands of people marked the one-year anniversary of the
disappearance of 43 students by marching down City’s premier
avenue in an atmosphere of defiant hope Saturday.
Activists said
the movement might bring justice for Mexico’s disappeared, though only
two of the students’ remains have been identified by DNA analysis of
charred bone fragments.
While the march was smaller than past
demonstrations, the case has helped publicize the thousands who have
gone missing since Mexico’s drug war started in 2006.
Peace and
anti-crime activist Maria Guadalupe Vicencio wore a skirt made of a
Mexican flag splattered with fake blood. The names of three disappeared
activists from her violence-plagued home state of Tamaulipas were
written across her shirt.
Vicencio said the students’ movement “sets an example for all Mexicans to wake up, and not be silent.”

In a meeting with the parents of the 43 missing students
earlier this week, President Enrique Pena Nieto promised to create a
special prosecutors’ office to investigate all of Mexico’s
disappearances.
More than 25,000 people disappeared in Mexico
between 2007 and July 31, 2015, according to the government.
Unidentified bodies often turn up in clandestine graves of the kind used
by drug gangs to dispose of victims. But most people disappear without a
trace.
The 43 students from a radical teachers college
disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014, after a clash with police in Iguala, a
city in the southern state of Guerrero. Six other people were killed at
the hands of the police during the disturbances.
According to
Mexico’s former attorney general, local police illegally detained the
students and then turned them over to the local drug gang Guerreros
Unidos, which then allegedly killed them and incinerated their remains.
A
group of independent experts assembled by the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights took apart that version earlier this month, saying the
funeral pyre simply couldn’t have happened at the small area of a
garbage dump where prosecutors say it did.
“For me, the parents
of the students have taught us a lesson, about keeping hope for change
alive,” said Carlos Martel, a business executive who attended Saturday’s
march with his wife.
The parents of the missing students ” many
of them barely literate farmers ” marched silently at the head of the
demonstration. They have refused to accept the government’s version that
their sons are dead and have called for a new investigation under
international supervision. They stoically decline to concede that the
chance their sons will be found grows ever more remote.
And they refuse to give up.
“If they are betting on us getting tired, they’re wrong,” said Mario Cesar Gonzalez, the father of a missing student.
While
the government has agreed to re-evaluate the funeral pyre theory, the
parents’ movement is at a crossroads. Students and relatives of the
missing young men blocked traffic on the main highway from Mexico City
to the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco on Saturday, but authorities are
increasingly less willing to tolerate such disruptions.
Many other Mexican social movements based on outrage, like the 2011 crime victims’ caravans, have later lost steam.
“You
have to protest,” said university professor Francisco de la Isla, who
attended the demonstration with his two young sons. “But it’s not enough
just to hold marches. You can hold two or three marches, but with five,
people get tired.”
“It’s clear you need a political movement,” de la Isla said.

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