Mexico students v the state: Anniversary of 1968 massacre reopens recent wounds

Anniversary of 1968 student massacre in Mexico reopens recent wounds

The plaza where the students were killed as it looks today Student leader Myrthokleia González was addressing the crowd in the square from an apartment balcony when she heard the first shots. She thought they were blanks at first and tried to calm the panicking protesters below. But Ms. González realized what was happening when she saw the first activists drop.

Fifty years on, the Mexican media is paying tribute to the student protesters who died during the 1968 Tlatelolco protests in Mexico City. The death toll has never been clear: an official report from the time put it at 26, while student leaders estimated it at 190.

However, last week a Mexican government body finally recognized the state was behind the massacre – something many Mexicans had insisted for years.

The anniversary of the 2 October killings has also raised uncomfortable questions for the outgoing administration, which has been accused of other rights abuses.

“Similar situations are still happening,” Ms. González told the BBC. “Although many things have improved, we still see terrible human rights crimes in Mexico .”

Ms González, then aged 22, was a member of the National Strike Council, the student collective that brought some 4,000 activists to the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the capital’s Tlatelolco district that evening.

The students wanted the government to free political prisoners and respect their right to protest. Police in 1968 show off a van full of captured students in Tlatelolco But authorities feared the student movement would disrupt the Olympic Games […]


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