Fifty years ago Tuesday, Mexican troops opened fire on student demonstrators, killing hundreds just days before Mexico City hosted the 1968 Olympics — one of the darkest episodes in a year of global turbulence.
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But five decades on, the October 2 massacre is little-remembered by the rest of the world and is shrouded in mystery in Mexico, where no one has ever been punished.
Today, it remains unclear exactly what happened, and how many people were killed.
Felix Hernandez, one of the leaders of the student movement that had gathered thousands of people that night at a square in Mexico City’s Tlatelolco neighborhood, recalls how the army just kept firing into the crowd for about half an hour.
“There were hundreds of dead, thousands of wounded, thousands arrested,” said Hernandez, 72.
“We still don’t know exactly how many people died,” he told AFP, his eyes red, the anger palpable in his voice. The authoritarian government at the time put the death toll at 20, claiming “terrorists” had fired on army troops, who responded in self-defense.
That version of events has today been discredited. Independent reports say the firing came entirely from government forces and put the death toll at anywhere from 300 to 500 people.- Olympics in troubled times -Just like in the United States and Europe, 1968 was a […]