CLASPING pictures of 43 students who vanished a year ago, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Mexico City at the weekend demanding justice over their massacre.

The “Day of Indignation” followed an independent report which suggests that state security forces helped a drugs gang to kill the students.

“We will march with energy. We can’t rest in our search,” said Felipe de la Cruz, a spokesman for the families of the missing.

The marchers, who have rejected the official version of their murders, are demanding a new independent investigation under international supervision.

“We came with a thirst for justice,” said student Sofia Rojas. “There can be no impunity. Behind the 43 are thousands of disappeared.”

Anti-crime activist Maria Guadalupe Vicencio said the protesters were setting “an example for all Mexicans to wake up, and not be silent”.


Around 50,000 people marched through the streets in support of the victims’ families, many bearing posters stating “No More Disappearances; No More Deaths”.

The angry protesters blame the authorities for the disappearance of the students from the city of Iguala and have become disillusioned with President Peña Nieto who came to power in 2012 promising he would end the deaths and disappearances of innocent victims caught up in the country’s savage drug wars.

“Out with Peña Nieto” read many of the posters carried by marchers unimpressed with the president’s words of sympathy during his meeting with the victims’ families last week.

Marcher Epifanio Alvarez said he did not believe the president’s pledge that he would find out what really happened.

“The government has given us only lies and deceit,” he said.

The families are calling for an independent investigation into the alleged role of the army in the disappearance of the students last September 26.


There is no doubt that the official version of what happened to the students appears confused at best.

First announced shortly after their disappearance, then repeated earlier this year by Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, the government line is that the students clashed with police in Iguala in Guerrero State after trying to commandeer buses in order to get to a political rally in Mexico City.

The students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College were arrested but never seen again. The federal government’s report into the case alleged that the city’s mayor told police to detain the students to prevent them disrupting a speech due to be made by his wife that afternoon.

The police then allegedly handed the students over to a local drugs gang, the Guerreros Unidos, who murdered them and incinerated their bodies at a rubbish dump in Cocula, a nearby town.

Karam said this was “the historical truth” but the marchers rejected it as nonsense. We want to tell you that account has been destroyed,” shouted one parent, adding that the protests would continue until the truth was revealed.

The marchers intended to keep the pressure on the government over the case after a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights rejected the official version of what happened.

According to the report, federal security forces followed the students throughout the day and were present when they were attacked. If this is true it means their kidnap and murder were sanctioned by both the state and federal security forces.

The report also disputes the official line that the bodies were burned at the rubbish dump. The remains of only two students have been identified by forensic experts.


The fate of the 43 has highlighted the problem of Mexico’s “disappeared”.

More than 20,000 people are officially missing from all parts of the country but particularly the state of Guerrero where violent gangs wage war over drug smuggling routes.

However, the true number is likely to be much higher as Mexican crime figures are notoriously unreliable.

Most people who have been reported missing are innocent citizens caught up in the drug wars which are also responsible for the deaths of around 100,000 people in the last decade.

Many claim that the police operate hand in hand with the drug barons who pay huge bribes to keep open the smuggling routes to the United States.

Mexican drug war expert José Reveles claims the police have been corrupted by the local and violent drugs gangs.

“They dominate everything and have deeply infiltrated local police forces, who are very capable of carrying out disappearances,” he said.

Campaign groups, galvanised by the disappearance of the 43 Iguala students, are also putting pressure on the government.

“We want people to remember, and keep remembering that the disappearance of the 43 students is still unresolved,” said a spokesman for campaign group ¿qué hacer? (What to do).

“We want to show our discomfort with the official version of facts, which tries to state that the students were incinerated and the military had nothing to do with it. There are too many lies.”