The pain, horror and rage over the crimes committed against Ayotzinapa students last September 26, in Iguala, Guerrero, have fostered national and international condemnation of criminal governments that plan to close all teacher-training schools — and do away with anybody they see as an obstacle to their plans.
On October 8, thousands of demonstrators took up the demands of the family and friends of the students killed and disappeared. In the streets of dozens of cities in Mexico and the world, the same chants could be heard: “You took them off alive, we want them back alive.” and “We want justice and we want it now.”
In Chiapas, Zapatistas marched in silence the same day and called for international protests.
In Mexico City, at least 20,000 people, maybe more, marched from the Angel of Independence to the Zocalo with banners and signs that read, “It’s Raining Rage in Ayotzinapa,” “Present the students alive,” “Aguirre, killer,” “Today it was Ayotzinapa students, tomorrow it might be you,” among other messages.
This time Miguel Mancera’s PRD government, anxious to wash its filthy face, realized its image might be damaged even more by calling out riot police to kettle, attack and arrest people, as it often does. With family members of the disappeared leading off, contingents of teacher-training school students and many student and social organizations marched to the Zocalo without any trouble. Once there, however, it was clear that there was no room for the protestors in the activities underway, so the rally was shunted aside to one corner of the plaza.
The families do not accept the government explanation that their children are probably the human remains found in mass graves on the outskirts of Iguala eight days after the massacre. They point out that for years, criminal groups have buried their victims in the same area and it could well be that the remains are those of others. They say they won’t know for sure if their children are there or not until they get the results of an independent investigation being carried out by Argentine forensic experts. The way they see it, their children are disappeared and they want them back home.
Although few people doubt the complicity of organized crime in the governments of Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez, now a fugitive, and in the PRD state government of Angel Aguirre, the families say that with or without drug cartel influence, the crimes against their children are crimes of state and crimes against humanity. They demand that the governments do what they haven’t done up until now: find their children and bring them back alive.
In the marches, the names of all the disappeared students were called out, one by one, as well those of students murdered by city police — Daniel Solís Gallardo, Julio César Ramírez Nava, and Julio Cesar Mondragón, whose face was skinned by torturers that also cut out his eyes, in an attack so sadistic that it will forever remain in the heart of the people — not to scare and silence us, as planned, but to heighten our rage a thousand times over.
Another name called out was that of Aldo Gutiérrez Solano – now brain dead in the hospital after being shot in the head by the same police in their attack against student buses last September 26.
And the names of other people shot down that night, perhaps by mistake, were also called out — the young soccer player of the Avispones (Wasps) team, David Josué García; bus driver Víctor Manuel Lugo Ortiz, and a woman in a nearby car, Blanca Montiel Sánchez.
Some of the cities in Mexico where protestors demanded justice and the return of the disappeared students are: Chilpancingo, Chihuahua, Lázaro Cárdenas, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mérida, Querétaro, Cd. Juárez, Zacatecas, Oaxaca, Playa del Carmen, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Orizaba, Tijuana, Monterrey, Cuernavaca, León, Villahermosa, Salina Cruz, Aguascalientes, Xalapa, Morelia, Valladolid, Torreón, Tecpan de Galeana, Tuxpan, Cancún, Puebla, Mazatlán, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Toluca, Pachuca, Hermosillo, Tehuacán, Culiacán, Irapuato, Poza Rica, Chetumal, Acapulco, San Miguel de Allende, and on the international scene, London, Madrid, Munich, Chicago and Los Angeles.
This post is also available in: Spanish