By Peter Paul Cortes
Mexico City, Oct 2 (EFE).- Thousands of Mexicans on Sunday marked the massacre of hundreds of students by state security forces on Oct. 2, 1968 with a protest in which they denounced the persistent impunity and militarization of the government.
About 4,000 people, according to official figures from the government of Mexico City, marched from the Plaza de las Tres Culturas de Tlatelolco, where the massacre occurred, to the Zócalo in front of the National Palace, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador resides.
“Justice now. No to militarization. No to impunity,” read the main banner of the Committee of 68, made up of the group of survivors who led the demonstration.
The Secretariat of Citizen Security deployed hundreds of police officers who confronted protesters at points along the route, while hooded men drew graffiti on walls and threw rocks at businesses in the historic center.
Mexico City government secretary Martí Batres reported 40 people with loaded backpacks and the seizure of a bag with Molotov cocktails, but said that the march reached the Zócalo “without mishap.”
The march commemorated 54 years since the death of more than 300 students in a massacre by the army and government paramilitary group Olympia Battalion against a peaceful demonstration 10 days ahead of the 1968 Olympic Games during the presidency of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz.
The massacre has stayed with Mexicans such as Enrique Dávalos, who witnessed the repercussions of the crackdown when he was a child and attended Sunday’s protest as part of the support group for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
“Justice has not been done. It cannot be forgotten, it cannot be overcome. And instead, what the State and the Army have done, is return to murder,” he denounced while waving a Mexican flag painted black.
López Obrador created a truth commission to clarify the period of repression in Mexico between the 1960s and 1990s, which includes this massacre.
Dávalos believes that “these are good efforts” but “very limited,” while others say they are insufficient, such as Cresencia Montalvo, a member of the Emiliano Zapata Popular Revolutionary Union.
“Nothing is enough. We have to improve life, we all have to improve our way of living and thinking, because some of us are aware a little – we know. Others are still asleep. This is a fight of consciences, this is an awakening of consciences,” he said.
The protesters repudiated the current militarization policies of the government of López Obrador, who last month transferred control of the national guard, a security body that he created in 2019 with the promise of keeping it civilian, to the army.
In addition, the president has supported constitutional reform for the armed forces to carry out public security tasks until 2028, despite his campaign promise to return them to the barracks.
“I don’t understand it. In its electoral campaign, what the current government in the presidency had promised is to transform policies of militarization into policies of conciliation, and what has happened is that a process of militarization has taken place, in a certain sense, never seen before,” argued Dávalos.
The activists also marked the eighth anniversary of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa on Sep. 26, 2014, a crime in which authorities at all levels participated, including the army, as the government acknowledged in August.
This shows that “the situation has not really changed – the state and the bourgeoisie continue to repress,” said Antonio Hidalgo of the Internationalist Group, a Marxist organization, that carried a sign reading “From Tlatelolco to Ayotzinapa.”
“What must be clear is that the State itself is not going to prosecute its repressive organs. At the same time that the State talks about democracy and justice, it has basically militarized the entire country,” said the activist. EFE