Versión en español: México hace suyos a normalistas desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa
Translation by Katia Valenzuela
Just as much in the states of the Republic of Mexico as in different places across the world, 8 October was a day of demonstrations of anger and solidarity because of the case of the missing and murdered student teachers in Iguala. In Mexico there were demonstrations, among many other cities, in Chilpancingo, Acapulco, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Tijuana, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Playa del Carmen, Chetumal, San Luis Potosí, Ciudad Juárez, Oaxaca, Morelia, Veracruz, Pachuca, and Morelos. International demonstrations took place in various countries, such as Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, The United States, Canada, Spain, Germany, Norway, Denmark, The United Kingdom, and others.
In Chilpancingo and Guerrero they shouted: ‘They were taken away alive and we want them back alive’
The demonstration, headed by relatives of the missing students and student teachers from different schools across the country, started from the point known as El Caballito and progressed along a stretch of the boulevard López Mateos. From the start, the size of the demonstration was clear, and, in spite of the intensity of the sun, continued to grow during the entirety of its journey until reaching the city’s main square. The estimated figure of attendees from social organisations, the teaching profession, and some human rights groups is 40,000. Something which was, without doubt, noticeable in a town which has no more than 240,000 inhabitants.
The vocal slogans that accused the governor, Angel Aguirre, of having links to drug trafficking and organised crime never ceased; moreover, the chants of students, teachers, and social campaigners demanded justice, and above all – the primary demand behind the action – to see the 43 missing students alive. Mothers and fathers kept their distance from the press because the pain is immense and they have no words other than to demand justice and to express their anger. Just some parents managed to speak to journalists.
At a stopping point waiting for those who were further behind, the group of relatives, through one of the those brave parents, stated to all of the present media: ‘we are not going to accept the story that the bodies found in the graves at Iguala are the bodies of our children, nobody from the government has met us and we have no confidence in their experts, the only thing we have confidence in is the team from Argentina which is supporting us. Moreover, we want to say – he said with a grave expression and on the verge of crying – that they discovered the bodies of two women and among our boys and girls there were no women, that is proof that they are not them’.
In an interview for SubVersiones, another parent of one of the missing student teachers (who preferred not to give his name for reasons of security) stated that ‘we still have hope that our children are alive, it was the local police who took them away alive y it would have to be the police who returned them in the same state’. Such a stance has become widespread at the same time as the Aguirre government has become unrecognised by many sectors of the population, who claim it will fall soon.
The demonstration progressed along the streets of Chilpancingo and it was amounting a lot of support along the route, people stopped working and came out to look from the garages, and the windows of house and buildings. At several points, the tide of anger was given natural juice and oranges, as well as sincere applause y cries which strengthened the students and relatives: ‘You are not alone’.
On its arrival in the centre of the capital of Guerrero, the demonstrators occupied the entire space and immediately started to hold a meeting. Different organisations made use of the microphone to continue to criticise the state institutions responsible for public security. To bring the day to a close, a spokesman for the democratic section 14 of the Mexican National Educational Workers Union (SNTE) announced the definite strike/stoppage of this section of teaching and a prolonged stay in this very square, warning the local government that it would not stop until the 43 students were found.
This demonstration was expected by many people, following the atmosphere of uncertainty and fear that had been experienced throughout this period in Iguala and Chipancingo, a concentration of thousands of people raising the same demand for justice revitalised organisations and brought relief in the midst of this State crime.
#AyotzinapaSomosTodos resonates in the country’s capital
In Mexico City, there was a large march from the Angel of Independence to the centre. Thousands of people and hundreds of organisations, groups and unions answered the appeal made last Saturday by the parents and relatives of the student teachers from Ayotzinapa. Although some commercial media calculated an attendance of fifteen thousand people in city of Mexico, it is clear that the number was far higher, since groups continued leaving the Angel for more than two hours.
At the head of the march were the relatives and friends of the missing student teachers. The reddened eyes of some of the women reflected the enormous anguish and anger that had overwhelmed them during the last twelve ill fated days. Groups of student teachers marched without stopping, starting with the ‘Raúl Isidro Burgos Teacher Training School’ from Ayotzinapa. Behind came the National Committee of Education Workers (CNTE) and after them, many more organisations and tens of thousands of people.
In a country with more than 150 thousand dead in the war against drugs, in which it would seem that we are accustomed to the appearance of mass graves and beaten bodies, the disappearance of the 43 student teachers at the hands of the State and in cohabitation with drug trafficking groups has awakened the indignation, sadness, and anger of thousands of people who today, across the whole world, decided not to ignore this despicable act and to take back the streets again. Today, beyond the solidarity with the students from the countryside, the people echoed the faces, the names and the absence of the disappeared.
As was expected, thanks to the absence of the police, there were no confrontations, clashes, or altercations. The main square was occupied by enormous tents put up for the Book fair, which did not allow the groups to enter; however, a brief meeting was held on the corner of 16 September and Pino Suárez street where a declaration to which a number of social organisations, including The Prodh Centre, The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, The Front “Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra de Atenco” and the Autonomous Agency of Communication SubVersiones was read out.
In Morelia, Michoacán: #JusticiaParaAyotzinpa
Anger, indignation and many cans of paint emptied in a hitherto unheard of quantity onto walls and tarmac. Hundreds and hundreds of people from Morelia gathered on a march to complain to the National Commission of Human Rights about its lack of action faced with the disappearance of the young student teachers, while at the same time they demanded that those responsible should be punished.
From Chiapas: Your anger is ours too!
In San Cristóbal de la Casas, Chiapas, students and citizens of Chiapas demonstrated in support of Ayotzinapa. Moreover, thousands of grass roots Zapatistas went out onto the streets to express their support under the slogans ‘your pain is our pain’, ‘you anger is ours too’, and ‘you are not alone’, in a march which, through its silence, united the collective cry of a Mexico that renounces violence and demands with one voice: the immediate return of the students, alive, and no further repetition of these events. Truth and Justice!