“Alive we want them back!”

Submitted by Matthew on 12 November, 2014 - 11:01 Author: Thais Yáñez

On 26 September, students at the Mexican Normal de Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Iguala, Guerrero were planning to go to Mexico City to join a protest.

The students peacefully took over three buses, common for protests in Mexico, and were asking fellow passengers for money to fund their trip when they were ambushed by the police who started shooting indiscriminately.

Attacks from police and gunmen in civilian clothing left six dead including one student who was skinned and was left with no eyes. Five were gravely wounded (one is now brain dead) and 43 became “disappeared” comrades, whose whereabouts are still unknown.

Initially many blamed the mayor, Abadal, whose history of corruption and involvement with cartels through his wife is well known. However this incident goes beyond his small office. In fact he went into hiding shortly after the event. He was finally found and arrested. But the investigation shouldn’t stop there. Did he give the order alone? Is the federal government trying to make him the only scapegoat?

Forty-three families are looking for their children who went missing whilst fighting for democracy and support for rural colleges and schools.

The forty-three families were received by the President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto and were promised justice. It hasn’t been delivered. One of the fathers of a missing comrade would later ask the President himself, face to face, for his resignation as he cannot control what his people do.

All over the world support and solidarity has been mounting for the families and the students of Ayotzinapa, not only from Mexicans abroad but from progressive students everywhere. There have been many demonstrations outside Mexican embassies. In Mexico demonstrations are very often held to cry, to mourn, to protest, to demand the government to give us back our brothers. “Alive they took them. Alive we want them”.

These events happened just five days before Mexico commemorated the 46th anniversary of the biggest massacre of students the country has seen

In the Tlatelolco massacre of 2 October 1968, between 30 and 300 students were shot by police in Mexico City. Sadly, 46 years later, Mexico still struggles with becoming a democratic country.