Mexicans march on 1 year of students' missing

Posted at 1:28 PM, Sep 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-26 16:28:11-04

Thousands of people marked the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of 43 students that drew international attention by marching through Mexico City on Saturday in an atmosphere of defiant hope.

Activists said Saturday afternoon that the movement might bring justice for Mexico's disappeared, though only two of the students' remains have been identified.

While the march was smaller than past demonstrations, the case has helped publicize the thousands who have gone missing since Mexico's drug war started in 2006.

Peace and anti-crime activist Maria Guadalupe Vicencio, 45, wore a skirt made of a Mexican flag splattered with fake blood. The names of three disappeared activists from her violence-plagued home state of Tamaulipas were written across her shirt.

Vicencio said the students' movement "sets an example for all Mexicans to wake up, and not be silent."

The 43 students disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014, in Iguala, during a clash in the southern state of Guerrero. Another six people were killed at the hands of the police during the attack.

According to Mexico's former attorney general, local police illegally detained the students and then turned them over to the local drug gang Guerreros Unidos, which then allegedly killed them and incinerated their remains.

A group of independent experts assembled by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights took apart that version earlier this month, saying authorities knew who the students were from the minute they headed for Iguala, and at the very least did nothing to stop the attacks.

They say the funeral pyre simply didn't happen, and suggest the attack occurred because students unknowingly hijacked a bus carrying illegal drugs or money. Iguala is known as a transit hub for heroin going to the United States.

President Enrique Pena Nieto earlier in the week told the families of the students that he would create a new special prosecutor for all of the country's thousands of missing people.

More than 25,000 people have disappeared in Mexico between 2007 and July 31, 2015, according to the government. The mass disappearance of the students a year ago brought the issue back into the spotlight.