The Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City was packed with thousands of people as they quietly marched to keep the memory of 43 missing children alive.
To mark the first tragic anniversary of the disappearance of 43 students in the city last year, thousands of citizens marched quietly along the Paseo de la Reforma on Saturday. The quiet resilience was in stark contrast to the sad event. Activists who organized the march along Mexico City’s premier avenue hoped the solidarity might help the bereaved families, who lost their innocent children, get justice.
Though the numbers have significantly dwindled since the last demonstrations demanding those responsible be brought to justice, the case has forced the media’s attention of the unexplained and many-a-times bizarre disappearances owing to the rapidly escalating drug wars in Mexico.
The march was organized to remember the 43 innocent students who suddenly vanished. These students were said to be studying under the guidance of a teachers college that was known for participating in radical movements. The entire lot had disappeared on September 26 in the city of Iguala, located in Guerrero. Apparently, the group had clashed with police, reported the Guardian.
While official accounts vary, the general consensus is that the police had illegally remanded the students and then inhumanely turned them over to a vicious local drug gang known as Guerreros Unidos. Since then, only two of the students’ charred remains have been discovered. They were so badly burnt, only DNA testing confirmed the identity. It is believed the gang murdered the students and burnt their remains.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had assembled a group of experts, who have refuted the widely-feared theory, keeping hope alive that some of the missing students might still be alive. This revelation sparked multiple marches in Mexico City that attempted to rally support to keep the investigation alive and in public’s eye, said Mario Cesar Gonzalez, father of one of the missing students.
“If they are betting on us getting tired, they’re wrong.”
Parents of the students have refused to give up hope and have been at the forefront of the marches that continually indicate how the situation in Mexico has truly gotten. According to the government, more than 25,000 people have gone missing since 2007. Police and members of the public routinely stumble across unmarked shallow graves which contain burnt or mutilated bodies of missing people. Though identification becomes difficult, most of the missing people are never found alive, reported HNGN.
The marches have begun to slowly get aggressive as the local government is blamed for doing little to rein in the rampant drug cartels and their routine clashes for dominance. Those who get caught in the midst of these wars are illiterate farmers and their families. Often, the children are forced to join gangs and threatened with dire consequences if they don’t comply. The the drug wars often result in multiple deaths of relatives, as well.
Marches may not be a definite solution to ensure the investigations continue, especially because the government believes the children are long dead, said Francisco de la Isla, a university professor who attended the demonstration.
“You have to protest. But it’s not enough just to hold marches. You can hold two or three marches, but with five, people get tired. It’s clear you need a political movement.”
The march in Mexico City may not have a strong impact, but the government has agreed to re-examine the case of the missing students, reported MSN.
[Image Credit | Brett Gundlock, Ronaldo Schemidt / Getty Images]