GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Hundreds of young people demanded on Thursday the safe return of three film students grabbed on March 19 by armed men purporting to be members of law enforcement in this western Mexican metropolis.
Holding posters and chanting slogans such as “We are students, not criminals” and “We want peace,” students and teachers of Guadalajara’s Audiovisual Media University (CAAV) and other institutions demanded that authorities find and bring about the safe return of 25-year-old Javier Salomon Aceves and Marco Avalos and Daniel Diaz, both 20.
The three CAAV students were returning on Monday from making a short film at a house in the Guadalajara suburb of Tonala, when one of the cars they were riding in broke down.
Minutes later, they were intercepted by several armed men in two black vans, according to social media accounts by relatives and several young female witnesses.
The men claimed to be agents of the Jalisco state Attorney General’s Office and forced Aceves, Avalos and Diaz, as well as their female companions to lie on the ground before fleeing with the three young males.
A CAAV teacher – who wished to remain anonymous – told reporters on Thursday that the three students are “good kids,” adding that, as the hours go by, school members “grow fearful” of what might happen to them.
“They are students,” she said. “They are (part of) a community at risk just for having a camera.”
The state’s Human Rights Commission on Wednesday issued a statement regarding the “worrisome picture” of forced disappearances in Jalisco.
The document cites National Database of Disappeared or Abducted Persons (RNPED) statistics that the number of missing persons in Jalisco grew from 2,782 to 3,080 over the six months ending Jan. 31.