Mexican Immigrants Protest Disappearance of Students

Some protesters called for the departure of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. (Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario)

Some protesters called for the departure of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. (Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario)

Mexican immigrants in New York came together Oct. 8 to demand justice for the 43 education students who disappeared Sept. 26 in Iguala, Mexico, after they allegedly clashed with the police and criminals.

The youth collective “YoSoy132 Nueva York,” which organized the local demonstrations, presented an energetic protest in front of the Mexican consulate, putting a spotlight on the country’s widespread impunity. The civil rights watchdog organization Internationalist Group and the Freedom Socialist Party also participated in the protest.

“Impunity angers me,” said Francisco Ramírez, 46, who works in construction and has been an activist for 18 years. “It is shameful that the Mexican government continues to cover up a history of repression and murder of students.”

According to Ramírez, who participates in a permanent campaign directed at creating awareness about violence in Mexico, the disappearance of the 43 students in the state of Guerrero happened after they were attacked by municipal police. The students were studying to be teachers at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School of Ayotzinapa.

“Their crime was to demand financial aid to face shortages in their school. Revealing the incompetence of the government was their death sentence,” said the member of the YoSoy132 Nueva York collective.

The young man, who lives in Brooklyn, called the disappearances “the second Tlatelolco,” referring to the student massacre perpetrated by the army and a paramilitary group in Mexico City on the eve of the 1968 Olympic Games.

Mexicans were not the only ones in New York to join the event to repudiate what happened in Iguala. Stephen Durham, of the New York Freedom Socialist Party, condemned the attack committed by the municipal police against the students, and brought up the link between the government and organized crime. Preliminary investigations suggest that the Iguala police may have handed over a group of 17 of the future teachers to the Guerreros Unidos gang.

In a press released delivered by the Mexican Consulate in New York, the Mexican federal government “categorically” condemned the disappearance of the 43 students in Iguala.

“These are outrageous acts of violence, painful, unacceptable, that our country does not deserve,” states the document.

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