On November 20th I marched from El Ángel de la Independencia to the Zócalo of Mexico City. In this way I joined the #AccionGlobalporAyotzinapa, a day of solidarity that took place in almost the entire country and in many cities all around the world. Demanding justice, along with thousands and thousands of people, I walked over four kilometers. I was there. I observed firsthand what happened. I can say that the version that was broadcasted by the vast majority of the mass media is partial (not complete and taking a side) and intentionally twists (badly) what happened.
It was the biggest social protest in which I have ever participated in all my life. There are "estimates" ranging from 30,000 to more than a million demonstrators. Beyond war of numbers, I prefer to say what I saw.... The Zócalo has about 40 thousand square meters, including the surrounding streets; so, if we calculate three individuals per square meter, the result is that 120,000 people are required to fill the symbolic heart of Mexico. The #20NovMx at 5 pm, the groups of college students clustered in Tlatelolco, began to advance. People who had gathered at the Monumento a la Revolución also began walking at that moment. People who left El Ángel began their protest an hour later. Before half past six, the Zócalo was already full. I arrived there until a few minutes after nine, when the meeting was already over. The square was still completely full and the protestors kept coming down across 5 de Mayo Street. What I mean is that the Zócalo filled up with protestor more than once, and that the surrounding streets remained fully occupied by groups that were still trying to advance and by people supporting the protest from the sidewalk. The estimation of the Mexico City’s government, 30 thousand people, is just ridiculous, while the million that others calculate might fall short.
In Mexico City, the #20NovMx was not purely a student protest: a huge diversity of social actors participated. Of course, the student protest groups of the public universities such as UNAM, Poli, UAM and UACM (united by the rallying cry If we do not march together, we’ll be killed apart) took the starring role, along with students from smaller universities, some of them private, like Ibero, ITAM, CIDE and Colmex. However, this time the Mexican youth did not march alone: labor unions and diverse nonprofit organizations (from Amnesty International to bikers clubs, including the LGBT community, feminist groups and even religious organizations), couples, kids and elderlies, white collar workers and businesspeople, all joined the protest… Certainly, most of us belonged to the middle class, but I also observed a considerable number of clearly wealthy people, and, what shocked me the most, a crowd of humble people, really humble people… Social union by itself is one of the most emotional human experiences, and even more when it develops between different kinds of people… A few meters before the Caballito roundabout, an old man, colossally tall, with severe eyes, held a sign: Students belong in school, not in dumpsters.
A deep sorrow was felt when the mass shouted out, demanding justice, numbers from one to forty-three. The joy of hope, however, was also there, because we knew that nor fear nor apathy had won. Excitement broke out when protests against president Peña were sung. We were happy. We were mournful. Outrage and anger. A lady with two little girls by her side spoke her mind: For our children… forbidden to surrender.
Pain for the Ayotzinapa students, anger against the government and pride for being there, marching along thousand of civilized citizens… And in this point we have to insist: the protest was not only pacific, it was also well organized.
Last Thursday evening I expressed one same message along with tens of thousands of Mexicans: we are hurt and outraged, and we want justice.
I got to enter the Zócalo until nine. It was impressive: although the meeting had concluded, people walked around cheerful, hopeful… But across the square, the sounds of petards were heard and we began to saw smoke. No one ran, laughs continued until the voice of prudence whispered to our ears, so we went ahead and exit through Madero Street… Some of the students still had energy to continue all the way across Eje Central with their universities cheers, Goyas and Huelums… Some of them had stopped to buy a tamal to ease the hunger…
For the thousands that remained at the Zócalo their end was not same. The government (with the help of the federal and city forces) decided to clear the square with police brutality. The excuse was activated an hour before: less than fifty barbarians had done their old tricks. The shout outs of people: Brother policeman, your fight is in this side, just before the repression stroke out, were useless, and physical aggression began.
Violence is not he solution, declared a few days ago the Secretariat Osorio, obviously… violence is not the solution, violence is the problem.