Thousands of people, including parents and family members of 43 missing students, took to the streets in Mexico City on Saturday to mark the first anniversary since the students disappeared from Iguala in the southern state of Guerrero.
The students from the teacher training college “Isidro Burgos de Ayotzinapa” disappeared after a group of corrupt police from the Municipality of Iguala, Guerrero, allegedly attacked the students on September 26, 2014. Afterwards the students were supposedly handed over to a criminal gang in the region.
The march set off at noon from the National Auditorium and went along the Paseo de la Reforma Avenue and ended at the Zocalo, the city’s main square. Family members demanded the missing students to be returned.
In addition to the family members, people from the Coordination for Mexico’s Rural Students, the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), democratic unions, non-governmental organizations from all over the country and students from various universities, also took part in the march in a peaceful way, local media reported.
Even though Mexican authorities currently have detained 111 people who were allegedly involved in the case, the justice system has still not sentenced anyone, according to local daily Milenio.
One year on from the crime and there has been no court decisions surrounding the case. Even though Iguala’s former mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, were allegedly the brains behind the operation, they still have not been sentenced.
The suspects are awaiting trial for crimes such as organized crime, kidnapping, forced disappearance and carrying weapons, among others, according to the Mexican Attorney General.
Among the arrested are 52 members of Iguala’s municipal police, 19 from Cocula’s and 40 people allegedly involved in the cartel “Guerrero’s Unidos” (“Warriors United”), according to Milenio.
The case has been complicated further by a lack of and discrepancies with evidence.
According to the students’ alleged murderers and the government’s official version ascertained by investigation, the bodies were incinerated, crushed and then thrown in a river in the rural area of Cocula, Guerrero, to hinder the identification process.
However, a recent report, published in early September, which was developed after a six-month investigation by international experts of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), contradicts the government’s official version.
The report stated that is was scientifically impossible that the students were incinerated at a rubbish dump in Guerrero. There was not enough fuel available at the site to completely burn all 43 bodies, according to the IACHR experts.
The parents met with President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday for only the second time since their children went missing. During the meeting, Pena Nieto agreed with the parents that the investigation needed to be kept open and that he would set up a new special team to investigate the case.
However, this was not as far as the families wanted. They had asked the president to launch a new internationally supervised investigation, like the one carried out by the IACHR, and also an investigation to review Mexico’s own investigators.
According to the president’s spokesperson, Eduardo Sanchez, the families presented eight demands and President Nieto had instructed the Cabinet to analyze them.
One year on from the tragic events and it seems to the parents that not much has been done enough to find answers.
In addition to the missing ones, the attack in Iguala left three people confirmed dead, and about 20 injured.
Ayotzinapa student Aldo Gutierrez, one of the survivors, could have been a key witness in the attack in Iguala if he had not been so badly injured. He was shot in the head on September 26, 2014 and has been in a coma ever since, according to Mexican daily El Universal.
In a vegetative state, Gutierrez has lost 20 kilograms and his body is connected to various tubes. The only reflex that he seems to have is a yawn that he continually repeats.
His family told media that they remain optimistic and are praying for a miracle even though the hospital director has already said that there is nothing more they can do for him. Enditem