MEXICO CITY – Family members of 43 missing students apparently murdered by a criminal gang have set out on a week-long protest tour of Mexico, which the government admits will suffer economically because of the case.
Three bus convoys with 450 passengers, including the parents and classmates of the disappeared students, left Thursday from the town of Tixtla where the students’ teacher training college was located, on separate routes around the country.
The teacher trainees went missing on Sept. 26 from the town of Iguala in Guerrero state after clashes with local police who arrested them and then handed them over to the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, according to investigators.
One of the protest convoys headed north, another went south and the third is touring the southwestern Guerrero state.
After stops in major cities, the convoys will converge on the capital on Nov. 20, the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, and the protesters will stage a mass rally demanding justice.
Some of the victims’ parents not joining the convoys were to meet with Attorney General Jesus Murillo on Friday and hear details of the ongoing investigation into the case.
Murillo told the families last week that the Guerreros Unidos cartel members had confessed to have killed and burned the bodies of the 40 students.
Authorities have sent ashes found at the site where the bodies were apparently burned to a forensic laboratory in Austria but results of DNA testing will take several weeks.
According to the government, the case will not only change public opinion about the authorities domestically, but also internationally, with repercussions for the Mexican economy.
This may result in companies deciding against investing in Mexico with a negative impact on job creation, according to Finance Minister Luis Videgaray.