Parents of 43 students who went missing in 2014 in Mexico called on President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to keep his word Monday as thousands joined them in a parade, criticizing blunders by a government that promised to punish those responsible.
The protest through the streets of the capital fell on the eighth anniversary of the students’ disappearance. Last month, the parents said they had a glimmer of hope in the case after Jesus Murillo Karam, the country’s former top prosecutor, was arrested in relation to the case.
But after Murillo, who remains imprisoned, was granted a temporary suspension of his trial, and after almost two dozen arrest warrants for other suspects were canceled, the students’ parents say they feel like they’re being played with.
“Truthfully, it feels like they’re just mocking us,” said Blanca Nava, mother of one of the missing students. “Mr. President, we want the truth.”
Emiliano Navarrete, the father of another missing student, said, “The government is at fault. If the president promised to handle this case… maybe it was just a publicity stunt. Maybe it was so people would trust him.”
In August, Mexico’s top human rights official presented the findings of an investigation into the incident, which involved student teachers from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College, and called it “a state crime.”
The report said the initial investigation into the incident led by Murillo, dubbed the “historic truth,” was riddled with errors and that all levels of government had been involved in the boys’ disappearance and a subsequent cover-up.
The 43 students were on their way to Mexico City from the Pacific state of Guerrero when they disappeared. Only three bodies have been found.
Last week, an unredacted version of the August report was published in the Mexican newspaper Reforma, naming alleged officials involved and saying the bodies of the kidnapped students were taken to a military base.
Since then, protestors, which include current students at Ayotzinapa, have taken a harsher tone. Last week, protestors broke down the entrance to a military base in Mexico City before throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers.
“It’s a way of putting pressure on them, telling them we’re tired of getting the run-around,” said Alexander Salazar, a student and protest leader at Ayotzinapa.