Mexico memory march turns violent
Thousands of Mexicans took to the streets yesterday to demand justice for the victims of a mass-killing by Government troops on the night of October 2nd forty years ago.
Survivors of that bloody night and Mexicans who had not been born then joined forces, chanting “Dos de octubre! No se olvide!” (Oct. 2! Don’t forget!) as they converged on the downtown Zocalo plaza, report Tracy Wilkinson and Deborah Bonello.
But the protests in Mexico City had a bitter end, with a small number of participants exchanging blows with police, breaking shop windows and spraying graffiti on walls.
El Universal reports that 20 people were arrested by plain-clothes policemen, and that one person injured, in a fracas that happened in the Zocalo, where the march was scheduled to end.
Pictures on the web site of the newspaper Reforma (subscription only) show youths lobbing empty cans and spraying aerosols at by-standing police, who the newspaper said had been ordered not to respond to aggression from protesters.
Other images picture young protesters breaking the window of a convenience store, and then entering it to help themselves to the goods inside.
October 2nd is still dreaded by some Mexicans as a day of potential disaster after the mass-killing 40 years ago in which hundreds of men, women, children and students were fired upon indiscriminately by Government-sent police and soldiers. No one has even been held responsible for what is one of the bloodiest episodes in recent mexican history.
As our report notes, some parents kept their children home from school yesterday in fear that something bad could happen.
The annual march is held in memory of those who died on October 2nd, 1948. But the event has become a date that many groups use to champion other causes and dissenting political views. The nature of the tragedy 40 years ago – in which helicopters, soldiers and plain-clothed policemen descended on a peaceful protest and massacred those taking part – mean that hostility and resentment is often directed towards the police sent to watch over the memorial protest.
Read yesterday’s report on the march in memory of the hudreds who were killed on the night of October 2nd, 1968 here.
Click here for more on Mexico.
— Deborah Bonello in Mexico City
Image: Protesters in Mexico City yesterday walking in memory of those murdered in a mass killing on the night of October 2nd 1968 carry a banner which has the word “Terrorists” emblazoned over the silhouette of a tank. Survivors of that night say that tanks rolled over the dead and wounded in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Tlatelolco. Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times