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  • Many activists argue that state-sponsored violence continues 45 years after Halconazo massacre

    Many activists argue that state-sponsored violence continues 45 years after Halconazo massacre

Published 10 June 2016

An estimated 120 protesting students were killed by a state-sponsored paramilitary group.

Dozens of student organizations, collectives and independent labor unions—including a group of dissident public school teachers with the National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE—are marching in the Mexican capital on Friday to demand justice and commemorate the 45th anniversary of the June 10th, 1971 Halconazo (or Corpus Christi Thursday) Massacre.

Mexican Teachers Allegedy Burn Down Building in Guerrero

The groups are also calling for an end to the criminalization of social protest, the return of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students and the revocation of recently implemented structural reforms.

The march, to begin at 4pm local time, seeks to enter the historic Zocalo square in Mexico Cirty, which in recent weeks has been blockaded by riot and transit police due to CNTE mobilizations.

Only three years after the infamous 1968 student massacre that left hundreds dead or disappeared, the Halconazo Massacre occurred when a state-sponsored paramilitary organization known as the Halcones attacked a group of protesting students in Mexico City from the National Polytechnic Institute. It is believed that 120 students were killed by beatings from bamboo sticks and high-powered rifles.

The students were marching in solidarity with striking students at the Nuevo Leon Autonomous University.

The same year as the massacre, then-president Luis Echeverria announced an investigation would be carried out, which ultimately led to the arrest of a handful of individuals. In 2005 the case was deemed closed, yet a year later Echevrria himself was prosecuted, accused of being one of the masterminds of the crime and declared guilty with a sentence of house arrest. In 2009, the verdict was overturned and Echeverria exonerated after the courts declared there was insufficient evidence against him. 

In Aug. 2015, Mexico’s National Institute of Public Information Access and Data Protection (INAI) ordered the Attorney General’s office to make public the official case files of the Halconazo and 1968 students massacres. 

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