Since 43 college students went missing in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, back in September, hundreds of protests have filled the streets throughout that country. The students are presumed by many to have been murdered.
From Mexico City to Miami, protesters gathered in front of Mexican government offices and consulates Thursday, voicing their frustration in the case of the missing students.
Protesters in Miami were wearing black and holding candles and signs with messages against their country’s government.
Ramon Hernandez has been in Miami for 10 years, but he says this protest demands for justice back home.
“To find not only the 43 students that are missing, but there are thousands of people that have been missing and dying because of everything that’s going on in Mexico,” says Hernandez.
He has lost family members in Mexico due to violence caused by drug cartels. Hernandez says he’s angry that he can’t be in his country protesting, but he hopes the protest in Miami will show the Mexican government that citizens outside Mexico seek justice as well.
“We want justice and we want something to happen now,” he says.
Ingrid Osorio agrees with Hernandez. She says this protest can be a voice so international organizations can pay attention to Mexico.
“What we are asking is for the right of a human life, of human dignity, basic rights that cannot be taken away from anyone,” says Osorio.
Osorio’s father is a public school teacher in Mexico. He’s what they call a normalista, someone who is or was studying to become an educator, just like the 43 missing students.
During the protest, Osorio read from a letter by her father. She says what struck her the most from his words was the fact that people forgot the government works for them.
“But it feels like we are working for them,” she says. “We pay them and they are killing us.”
Protesters also showed their discontent towards the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, by chanting for his resignation.
Osorio says ending corruption is not only by changing the country’s administration.
“Is not only changing the government or the president, but everything has to be changed from the root, and it has to start with us,” says Osorio.
Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia is Mexico’s consul in Miami. He joined the protest towards the end of the night, but decided to leave after some protesters disturbed him as he started speaking.
The protest’s organizer handed him a list of demands.
Zabalgoitia says he’s also outraged by the drug gang violence in Mexico and will send the demands to Mexico.
“Here in Miami, we recognize that is has not been violent and we can recognize that these people have expressed themselves and they are,” he says. “It’s their right and we will respect that. And we will transmit to Mexico their petitions.”
About 200 people gathered in Miami while tens of thousands marched in Mexico City, where they fought with police.