PUEBLA, Mexico – In an outpouring of dissatisfaction, more than 150,000 young people from all the universities in the central Mexican state of Puebla marched on Thursday to demand justice and security from the authorities after the murder 10 days ago of three students, two of them Colombians.
With most of them dressed in black as a sign of mourning, the students protested to show their support for the families of Colombians Ximena Quijano and Jose Antonio Parada, along with Javier Tirado and his Uber driver on that night, Josue Emanuel.
The four were murdered on Feb. 24 in Santa Ana Xiamimilulco and their bodies were found near the highway.
In unison, the students shouted slogans on Thursday demanding justice and calling on the government to do its job by implementing security strategies that will be effective to guarantee the safety of young people in the vicinity of their academic institutions, where a huge number of assaults and attacks have been occurring.
During the five hours that the marchers were out on the streets, they waved signs, shouted and chanted slogans and otherwise expressed their concern and outrage at the wave of violence besetting the region.
According to figures compiled by the Public Safety Executive Secretariat, 1,249 murders were committed in Puebla in 2019, a figure very similar to that of the previous year although other kinds of crimes – including assaults that left the victims injured – also increased and concern among the public over general safety skyrocketed in the state capital, also called Puebla.
The rise in violence in the state is a reflection of the wave of violence washing over Mexico, where 34,582 people were murdered last year, a record.
During the march, which passed through the main streets of the city, the protesters shouted slogans like “(Gov. Miguel) Barbosa, listen well!” and “Sir and madam, don’t be indifferent; they’re killing students right in front of your eyes!”
Cindy Tirado, the murdered student Javier’s sister, said that it was unconscionable for the authorities to only give their condolences and not do anything about the killings.
“The figures speak for themselves, (so do) the deeds. We’re not making it up, … we can’t just sit around, when the numbers are rising every day,” Tirado told EFE.
“We’re fed up. How many more – it’s not just one, it’s 10 per day. And (the government) just says it’s the previous government’s fault,” she said.
Student Andrea Cuellar told EFE that it is “terrible” to have to go through the streets in fear, saying that she hears only news about women who have disappeared.
Mario Andres Gomez Escorza, a student at the Autonomous Popular University of the State of Puebla, complained to EFE about the apathy of his institution regarding earlier protests.
Puebla Gov. Barbosa met with some of the students and said that the current lack of security in the region is a government and societal problem. He urged the students to work hand in hand with the government to deal with the problems and thus help to do away with a “corrupt system.”