Tens of thousands poured into the streets of Mexico City Thursday in the largest expression of public outrage since 43 students from the town of Ayotzinapa in Guerrero state were disappeared, and likely massacred, seven weeks ago.
Part of a national day of action to protest the state's response to—and the Iguala mayor's alleged role in—the killings, the protest escalates the already acute political crisis seizing the Mexican government, which was heightened by recent revelations that the first lady, in the midst of the turmoil, is building a lavish mansion.
The protesters spanned generations and included teachers, students, workers, poor farmers, and the unemployed. Many held candles and pictures of the disappeared as cries of, "It was the state" and "Get out Peña" swept through the demonstration. At numerous points, marchers counted in unison to 43, followed by a shout of "Justicia!" Demonstrators demanded, “They took them alive, we want them back alive”—a reference to the country's Dirty Wars of the 1960s and 70s in which leftists were hunted down and disappeared by the government.
The protest marked the 104 year anniversary of the launch of the Mexican revolution and was timed to coincide with a nation-wide strike.
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"Mexicans are ready to explode," said Homero Aridjis, an activist, poet, and participant in the march. "Corruption has touched bottom, people are poor, suffering violence. They are fed up and desperate."
Reports and commentary on the protests are being posted to Twitter: