Protest in the streets

“Seven years without Justice” carried by students of education

Exclusive for the Columbus Free Press

Thousands of angry protesters filled Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma boulevard, marching more than two miles to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of 43 education students from a rural teacher’s college in 2014.

National anger over the forced disappearances revived days before the September 26th anniversary. Among President Manuel Andrés López Obrador’s most prominent campaign promises when he was a candidate in the 2018 elections was a swift solution to the disappearances and stern sentences for the guilty. Yet now, half way through the six year term, he announced a meager advance.

Moreover, the pledged commitments to education, youth, teachers, employment, and nearly all other social ills have gone unmet — most of them even suffering severe cutbacks. Most repulsive is the rising number of feminicides (murdered women) in an administration that flaunts itself as center-left, populist, progressive, etc.


The 43 youth abducted in 2014 were enrolled in a teacher’s college in a rural village of the state of Guerrero, in the mountains above Acapulco. The student body in Ayotzinapa is predominantly indigenous peoples. Ayotzinapa is famed for being one of the campuses were the Party of the Poor led by Lucio Cabañas had organized in the 1960s.

(For a more complete analysis of Cabañas’s poorism, the reader is directed to the book review Contributions to revolutionary theory from the Mexican highlands: A review of 'Lucio Cabañas y la guerra de los pobres', published by Links

In September of 2014, a group of students was preparing to travel to Mexico City to participate in the annual commemoration of the mass murder of youth on October 2, 1968 — just weeks before the Olympic Games. The most conservative estimates of the Tlatelolco massacre counted a thousand dead, along with countless wounded. Since the early 1970s, tens of thousands tread the parade route every year under the slogan, “October 2nd is not forgotten!”

As students around the country commonly do, not only for this event but just as with sporting outings, they commandeered busses for transportation. Each and every reported version of the altercations that happened next contradicts the others, yet what is clear is that within a short time the local or state police had seized the passengers and then handed them over to drug traffickers in whose hands they disappeared.

Years later, authorities from international agencies have found the buried remains of one or two them. The rest are missing to this day. Families of the 43 disappeared hold permanent vigil in a tent city on Paseo de la Reforma. The march paused before it and called out the now traditional chant to loudly, slowly, solemnly count off from one to forty-three, than shout out for “Justice.”

The March

Four thousand marched the more-than route along Paseo de la Reforma, according to this participant’s very conservative estimate, plus hundreds more organizers and sympathizing onlookers on the sidewalk. The number of marchers can only be a rough estimate because more and more contingents joined in along the way. The protesters were quite loud and mostly youthful — many of them must have been in elementary or middle school when the tragedy occurred in 2014.