© 2022 WGLT
NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Protesters in Mexico City demand to know what happened to 43 college students

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

This week, a leaked government report in Mexico laid out grisly details of the fate of 43 college students. Eight years ago, they vanished. Protesters took to the streets of Mexico City to demand the truth. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER #1: (Non-English language spoken).

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Non-English language spoken).

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: The parents of the missing Ayotzinapa students walk in the middle of Mexico City's main boulevard. They carry bouquets of flowers and pictures of their children.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Non-English language spoken).

PERALTA: This week, the newspaper Reforma published previously redacted text messages that reveal local politicians and military leaders, who thought the students were working with rival drug gangs, ordered cartels to kill them. The messages show that after public outcry, the cartels panicked. Some students' bodies were dismembered. Some were melted in acid. And some - it's not clear if dead or alive - were taken to a military base, where they couldn't be found. Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, a lawyer for the family, says this has been a gut punch for the country because all their worst suspicions are actually true.

VIDULFO ROSALES SIERRA: (Non-English language spoken).

PERALTA: They never thought, he says, that even the military was involved in probable homicides.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER #2: (Singing in non-English language).

PERALTA: The protesters marched past a makeshift memorial to all of the missing people in Mexico. In eight years, not a single person has been tried or convicted for the kidnapping or the murder of the students. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he's committed to justice. But at the same time, prosecutors dropped cases against some prime suspects.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER #3: (Non-English language spoken)

PERALTA: The march ends at Zocalo Square, just steps from the president's residence. Blanca Nava, whose son is among the missing, takes the mic and delivers a warning. We are not leaving.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

BLANCA NAVA: (Non-English language spoken).

PERALTA: "No, Mr. President, we want the truth."

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

NAVA: (Non-English language spoken).

PERALTA: "It's time," she said, "for the government to stop toying with our pain and suffering of not knowing what happened to our children."

Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Mexico City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.