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News > Latin America

Families of Missing Mexican Students March for Justice

  • People take to the streets demanding justice for the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa on Oct. 26, 2017 in Mexico City.

    People take to the streets demanding justice for the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa on Oct. 26, 2017 in Mexico City. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 October 2017

More than 800 searches have been organized since 2014, scouring Mexico's rivers, caves and garbage dumps for traces of the 43 vanished students.

Families of 43 missing Ayotzinapa students, who disappeared a year and one month ago, have marched in the capital to demand justice for their vanished children.

Activists Take Mexico to Human Rights Commission Over Ayotzinapa Case

The march stretched from the square of the Angel of the Independence to the Hemiciclo of Juarez and involved numerous human rights activists, several of whom were from the Commission of Human Rights of Mexico City.

According to the official version, students from an Ayotzinapa teacher's training college in Iguala, Guerrero state, which is renowned for political activism, were heading to a demonstration on a bus when they were pulled over on Sept. 26, 2014.

A group of rogue police officers allegedly detained the 43 students and handed them over to a cartel that killed them and burned their bodies, activists claim.

The families of the 43 disappeared students denounced the official police report due to a number of discrepancies. They have called for renewed efforts into the investigation of the case, using the motto: "They were taken alive; we want them alive."

The government claims rogue police officers apprehended the 43 students on the night of Sept. 26, 2014 and in the early hours of Sept. 27, 2014, handing them over to a gang known as Guerreros Unidos. According to the official investigation, the students were then killed and cremated in a garbage dump, incinerating every trace of evidence.

However, several independent investigations have contested the events, insisting it would be impossible to generate sufficient heat to cremate so many bodies without leaving any trace, and allege that federal police and the Attorney General's office all played a role in the disappearances. The Mexican government denies these claims and blames criminal organizations and local police.

Despite repeated calls for futher information to be released about the investigation, the Attorney General’s Office has so far refused to cooperate.

Investigators state there are three strands of enquiry left to examine: military involvement by the federal and municipal police, cell-phone tracers, and an investigation into a drug-trafficking route between Iguala, the site of the disappearance, and Chicago.

Disappearances and kidnappings are an ongoing source of public outrage throughout Mexico. Tens of thousands of victims are reported to have vanished in recent years.  

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