World

PHOTOS: Outrage In Mexico Following Massacre Of 43 Students

CREDIT: Scott Keyes

OAXACA de JUAREZ, Mexico — Two months ago, 43 college students went missing in Iguala, a city in southern Mexico, after participating in a demonstration to promote teachers’ rights. After a fruitless six-week search for the kidnapped students, who had attended Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in Ayotzinapa, members of a local drug cartel confessed to massacring the students and incinerating their remains. According to authorities, the cartel was handed the students by Iguala’s mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez, and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa. The two were arrested earlier this month.

But that hasn’t stopped the outrage in Mexico as protests continue to sweep the country.

In Oaxaca, a state (with a capital of the same name) that borders the state of Guerrero, home to Iguala, there have been regular demonstrations since the gruesome murders. Over the past month, protestors have repeatedly blocked roads and demanded Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ouster. Oaxaca has its own extensive history of teacher protests. In 2006, after a months-long standoff with teachers who had been protesting in favor of better working conditions, the conflict escalated and police opened fire on multiple occasions. Seventeen people were ultimately killed. Teachers’ demonstrations have continued to be a mainstay in Oaxaca since; they are currently camped out in the capital city’s downtown square protesting for more rights.

It’s unsurprising, then, with this history in Oaxaca, the volume of Ayotzinapa graffiti that has popped up on buildings around the city. Much of it accuses the government, and particularly President Peña Nieto, of being complicit in the massacre.

I asked Sergio Sarmiento, 30, a college student in Oaxaca, about the graffiti. “It’s not possible to say it was the government’s fault, because there is no government, or at least not a functioning one,” he told ThinkProgress. He thinks the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca Velázquez, and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, deserve to go to jail for the rest of their lives, and likely will receive this maximum penalty because of the international outrage the case has generated. (Mexico does not employ the death penalty.)

Here is a sampling of the Ayotzinapa signs and graffiti around Oaxaca:

Graffiti on the picturesque Santo Domingo church downtown. "43 are missing. It was the state."

Graffiti on the picturesque Santo Domingo church downtown. “43 are missing. It was the state.”

"While they are not coming back, we will fight. And to the government, you will not have peace because the people will neither forgive nor forget."

“While they are not coming back, we will fight. And to the government, you will not have peace because the people will neither forgive nor forget.”

Marcial Pablo Baranda, 20, one of the 43 students who were killed. "They were taken alive! We want them alive!"

Marcial Pablo Baranda, 20, one of the 43 students who were killed. “They were taken alive! We want them alive!”

"Support the students of the Ayotzinapa school, Guerrero [state]"

“Support the students of the Ayotzinapa school, Guerrero [state]”

Portraits of all the murdered students.

Portraits of all the murdered students.

Ayotzinapa, the fight continues. Murderer [President Enrique] Peña. Aytozi lives.

“Ayotzinapa, the fight continues. Murderer [President Enrique] Peña. Aytozi lives.”

"Being poor isn't a crime."

“Being poor isn’t a crime.”

"[President Enrique] Peña get out."

“[President Enrique] Peña get out.”

"Ayotzinapa in rebellion. Get out [President Enrique] Peña and the bitch Gaviota [a character once played by Peña's wife, actress Angélica Rivera] who are both lying. In Oaxaca we're not stupid."

“Ayotzinapa in rebellion. Get out [President Enrique] Peña and the bitch Gaviota [a reference to Peña’s wife, Angélica Rivera] who are both lying. In Oaxaca we’re not stupid.”

Painted over Ayotzinapa graffiti.

Painted-over Ayotzinapa graffiti.

"Power cannot be destroyed alone. It needs your help"

“Power cannot be destroyed alone. It needs your help”

"There is no liberty without disobedience. 43 are missing. I prefer to die fighting on my feet than to live on my knees."

“There is no liberty without disobedience. 43 are missing. I prefer to die fighting on my feet than to live on my knees.”

"Missing 43"

“Missing 43”

"A mother looks for her disappeared son. Where are you, Mexico? Help to find him. Solidarity with Ayotzinapa."

“A mother looks for her disappeared son. Where are you, Mexico? Help to find him. Solidarity with Ayotzinapa.”

"Stop the state's terrorism!!"

“Stop the state’s terrorism!!”

"Zapata lives. The revolution continues."

“Zapata lives. The revolution continues.”

"The wounds are all of ours"

“The wounds are all of ours”

"I Want Justice"

“I want justice”

"Justice for the 43 Ayotzinapa"

“Justice for the 43 Ayotzinapa”

"In Mexico, every day is Day Of The Dead"

“In Mexico, every day is Day Of The Dead”

(All photos credit: Scott Keyes)