Five months ago, on September 26, 2014, Mexican police started firing on student buses during a protest in the town of Iguala, Guerrero. Six students were killed and 43 were kidnapped and disappeared. It is now almost certain that they too were murdered by the police. The students were young, mostly in their late teens and early twenties. They came from the Ayotzinapa Normal School, a school with a strong history of protesting injustice, and were seeking better conditions in their impoverished schools and communities.
It is clear that the massacre of these students was politically motivated, and involved both the state and federal governments. As is so often the case, the United States lurks behind the curtain of violence, having trained and equipped police in the region for decades. Since Mexico’s war on drugs began in 2006 there have been at least 40,000 people killed in the country. Many of these deaths are, contrary to police reports, unrelated to drug trafficking. Often, they are attacks on civilian protesters and indigenous peoples. Unlike other disappearances and massacres, Ayotzinapa has gained national and international attention because of the popular uprising in response, largely led by family of the dead and disappeared.
Since their death, family members of the disappeared, survivors of the attack, and student leaders from Ayotzinapa have been travelling around the country in search of their loved ones. They have organized marches throughout the country, including a handful of large ones in Mexico City. Many thousands attended the march on February 26. Students marched side by side with union workers and indigenous leaders calling for an end to the neoliberal politics and economics of death. They demanded justice for the students of Ayotzinapa and others killed more recently like Claudio Castillo Pena, a retired teacher who died after being beaten by police at a bloody protest in Acapulco on February 24.
Here, thousands of teachers and others blocked entrance to the Alvarez de Acapulco International Airport, a big tourist corridor. They demanded better wages and working conditions in addition to justice for the Ayotzinapa dead. As police violence and repression continue there is rising resistance throughout Mexico. La Lucha Sigue! The fight goes on!