Mexico’s Protests Broken Down
Mexico is the newest country to rise against their government, following a tumultuous slew of worldwide demonstrations ranging from Syria to the United States and recently Hong Kong. As a Mexican the protests that occurred nation-wide last night fill me with pride for my people and sadness for my country, but the empowerment of the citizens has been and will always be an inspiration for freedom. While some of the information circulating the media is sketchy and biased here are the fundamental things that you need to know about what’s going on:
43 Students Go Missing
The events started on September 26 in Iguala, a town in Guerrero state. On this day a bus with 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa was traveling back from a protest on the government’s discrimination against rural colleges (instead opting favorably for urban ones) where police rounded them up into the vehicle. At some point police handed over the students to the criminal organization ‘Guerreros Unidos’ under false pretenses that they were members of a rival gang.
Absence Turns to Massacre
Once in the hands of the Guerreros Unidos the students were transported to a dump site, however by the time they got there around 15 of the students were dead from suffocation. The rest were brutally murdered on site, after which their bodies were disposed off by burning.
The police had no legal jurisdiction to hold the students in the first place, but the story unfolds to a deeper level, with the town’s mayor, José Luis Abarca being accused of ordering the arrest of the students. Even crazier, Abarca’s wife is sister to some members of the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, which leads to more speculations on the involvement of the government with corrupt cartel affairs. On October 22 Abarca and his wife fled the state as fugitives and were arrested on November 4th.
Though many people have been arrested, including three participants of the massacre who described the events of that night, the families of the 43 students believe this to be a cover up to dissuade the public outrage, declaring that until an independent source confirms the deaths they will not give up the search for them.
The event has brought up massive outrage with protests rising nationwide – there’s even been demonstrations held at Union Square demanding answers and justice.
Yesterday, on the anniversary of Mexico’s Revolution, nationwide protests broke out, the largest of which was held in Mexico City, during which thousands of people ranging from children to students, adults, intellectuals, and everyone in between marched to the Zócalo (the city square). People carried signs asking for justice for the 43, amongst other slogans, as well as carrying nets overhead, like trapped fish. Many citizens have demanded that President Enrique Peña-Nieto resign, a feeling which was most strongly evident by the bonfire burning of a papier-mâché statue of the president.
Though the anger is tangible amongst all citizens the protests remained peaceful until late, wherein a group of people clashed with police, whom retaliated with tear gas.
There are still many unresolved matters and the dissidence of a country long violated by governmental corruption and violence (an issue that has exacerbated since the initiation of the war on drugs) is growing exponentially per day. The demand for justice, freedom, and peace will not be repressed.
Photos via Instagram