Some 500 protesters marched from the Mission District to downtown San Francisco to show solidarity with the parents of 43 students and six others who were likely killed this September in southeast Mexico.
The disappearance of the 43 students, who are presumed dead, and the murder of six others in Iguala, Guerrero in Mexico exposed the systematic injustice, impunity and corruption that exists in the country, according to human rights advocates. The government’s slow response – it took six weeks before the government disclosed anything about what happened with the students – has triggered daily protests throughout Mexico.
The anger flared again last week after the Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo said, in an off-the-cuff remark that he was tired of fielding questions about the students. The reaction on social media was swift and violent protests ensued.
“We are not mad, were pissed,” said a protester over the microphone on 24th and Mission streets.
Already, there have been four protests in front of the Mexican consulate in the SoMa neighborhood, but while those have been relatively small with fewer than 50 people, this one grew to hundreds.
“The more people hear about the movement the more people show up,” said Miguel Robles, one of the organizers.
People marched, carrying signs calling for the removal of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is in Australia for the G20 summit despite the escalating crisis.
People chanted over the loudspeaker, “Why, why are your murdering us when we are the future of Latin America.”
For about an hour and half protesters marched on Mission to 16th street, then from Valencia to Market street before reaching Powell Street, where they talked about a future march.
The protesters were of all ages from kids with strollers to elderly people in crutches.
Ismael Chamu, 18, and a student at UC Berkeley said he is speaking out for his parents who are originally from Guerrero.
“I know my parents would be hurt if I was number 44,” he said. “I am speaking for those who have not been able to speak due to their immigration status.”
Organizers are currently in the process of organizing a large protest to coincide with a general strike taking place in Mexico on November 20, the anniversary of the Mexican revolution.