April 30, 2018

Thousands Protest Brutal Murders of Three Mexican Film Students

GUADALAJARA, MEXICO—Thousands of people converged on Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, on Thursday, April 26, to protest the killings of three film students who were abducted on March 19 while working on a school project. The Mexican government announced this week that the students from Universidad de Medios Audiovisuales had been brutally murdered by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which dissolved the victims’ bodies in acid.

According to Mexico Daily News, Javier Salomón Aceves Gastélum, Marcos Francisco García Ávalos, and Jesús Daniel Díaz García may have been mistaken for rival gang members. They were targeted because they chose to shoot a film at a residence where the cartel was expecting the leader of the criminal group Nueva Plaza to arrive. Attorney General Raúl Sánchez Jiménez said that two of the eight alleged members of the cartel who were suspected of being involved with the crime were apprehended.

The deaths of the young men have prompted many people to take action. According to the Associated Press, more than 12,000 people gathered in Guadalajara and Mexico City to protest the gruesome crimes and around two hundred students held a candlelight vigil outside the governor of Jalisco’s official residence. Many have accused Aristóteles Sandoval, and the authorities, of not acting quickly enough. They are calling for him to step down. In response, he said that the “pain and outrage” over the students’ deaths should not be turned into a political issue and assured the public that an investigation is currently underway.

The disappearance of the students has become emblematic of the thousands of people who have vanished in Mexico in recent years. According to Pie de Página, more than 5,000 people have gone missing in Jalisco since February 28. 36 percent of them are between the ages of sixteen and twenty-eight.

The outrage over the murder of the aspiring filmmakers echoes the widespread condemnation and mass protests that erupted in 2014 when forty-three out of one hundred students disappeared after they were ambushed by local police while traveling by bus in Iguala.

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