Fri, Sep 25, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Parents of missing Mexico students protest

TRUTH:Parents of 43 missing Mexican teaching students are still waiting for answers one year since they were allegedly attacked by local police and then disappeared


Relatives hold pictures of some of the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa Raul Isidro Burgos College as they start a 43-hour hunger strike ahead of the first anniversary of the disappearance, at Zocalo Square, Mexico City, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Parents of 43 Mexican students who disappeared last year began a 43-hour hunger strike on Wednesday, a day before meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto ahead of the case’s anniversary.

The families of the young men gathered under a white tarp in front of Mexico City’s cathedral at Zocalo square and declared the start of their protest at 7pm.

Holding signs with the pictures and names of their sons, they sat as a doctor examined them to make sure they could take part in the nearly two-day fast.

They are to spend the night there under tents.

“For 43 hours, we will only drink water and we’ll be fasting when we meet with the president,” said Nardo Flores, whose son Bernardo is among the missing.

It will be the second meeting between the parents and Pena Nieto since the disappearance last year, which turned into the biggest crisis of his administration and caused his approval rating to dip.

The Mexican leader and the families were to come face-to-face at 1pm yesterday in a museum at the city’s Chapultepec park.

The parents’ attorney Vidulfo Rosales said they would call on Pena Nieto to order a new investigation and for authorities to present the 43 young men alive.

Mexican Deputy Interior Minister Roberto Campa said the meeting between the parents and Pena Nieto would be “complicated,” as it involves the sensitive issue of Mexico’s thousands of disappeared.

“I’m confident that we will have a productive meeting, which will produce agreements to obtain the two main objectives, which are getting to the truth and getting justice,” Campa said.

The students, from a rural teacher college in the southern state of Guerrero, disappeared after they were attacked by local police in the city of Iguala.

Prosecutors say police then delivered the young men — who had gone to Iguala to hijack buses to travel to a protest elsewhere — to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their bodies.

However, the official investigation was questioned by independent experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who said there was no evidence that the students were burned in a funeral pyre at a garbage dump.

Only one student has been positively identified among charred remains while the attorney general said last week that there was a possible match for a second student.

The parents and other students from their teacher college are to lead a protest in Mexico City tomorrow to mark the one-year anniversary of the mass disappearance.

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