MEXICO CITY — Thousands of people took to the streets Saturday to mark the anniversary of the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero in a case involving corrupt police and high-ranking members of the army that continues to trouble Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Parents and relatives of the missing students led the march from an area close to the presidential residence of “Los Pinos,” carrying with them pictures of their loved ones and shouting slogans rejecting the official statement of their fate.
Days before the march, President Nieto held a meeting with the parents of the 43 missing students to hear their demands and show support for their cause.
“We are on the same side,” Peña declared.
Nevertheless, the Parents described the president’s attitude toward the case as “indifferent,” and while more than 10,000 people were marching through one of the main boulevards of Mexico City, Nieto was attending to the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City.
“Because alive they were taken, alive we want them back!” was the slogan of the march; Signs that read “Crime of the State,” “Get out Peña,” and “Peña, Murderer” were shown all along the march. Various Mexican personalities such as Elena Poniatowska, a Mexican journalist, author and activist, and Hipolito Mora, leader of self-defense groups in Guerrero, were also present, asking for justice.
The march proceeded peacefully except for one group 0f self-named “anarchists,” who launched a series of riots, ending in clashes with police but without causing much damage.
The march culminated at the historic Zocalo, a giant square in the heart of Mexico City, with a speech by the spokesman for the families, Felipe de la Cruz, in which he encouraged demonstrators to show their outrage over what happened in Ayotzinapa, Atenco and Tlatlaya, where state crimes have been committed and where impunity still reigns.
Text and Images by David Córdova