Things That Matter

Police In Guadalajara Threatened To Make Protesters “Disappear” And Now Days Later 29 Protesters Are Still Missing

Communities around the world are rising up against unchecked police brutality and a system that operates with impunity. Mexico has long been a hotbed of corruption and unchecked police power, but much like in the United States, Mexicans are taking to the streets to voice their outrage.

The recent killing of an unarmed Mexican who was taken into custody after not wearing a face mask on public transport, has provoked unrest in cities across the country. And, also like in the U.S., the police reacted to protests with brutal force that left several injured – and now reports say that 29 protesters are missing or unaccounted for.

Protests in Guadalajara have left 29 protesters missing or unaccounted for – and many fear the worst.

Credit: Francisco Guasco / Getty

Across Mexico, people have taken to the streets to demand justice for Giovanni López – a man who died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing a face mask on public transit. The protests have taken place in cities across the country – also inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter protests taking place across the globe.

At the protests, police reacted with extreme force and left many protesters injured. Many have also come forward with stories of having been abducted by police forces on their way to the march and then being abandoned and robbed in the outskirts of the city.

Protests began popping up across Mexico in response to the killing of a man in police custody after he didn’t use a mask on public transit.

Credit: Francisco Guasco / Getty

Inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter protests in responde to the killing of George Floyd, protests over police abuses have flared up all around the world – including in Mexico.

In Guadalajara, which many call Mexico’s Second City, protests lasted for three days after video surfaced showing city police detaining Giovanni López in the town of Ixtlahuacán de Los Membrillos. Police had detained him for failure to wear a mask on public transit.

When López’s family went looking for him the day after his arrest, they were told he had been taken to a public hospital in Guadalajara. They found him dead there with a bullet wound in his foot and signs of trauma. An autopsy concluded he had died from traumatic brain injury, according to local media.

The news of missing protesters come as many protesters say that police actually threatened to make them disappear.

As protests raged across Guadalajara, some 80 protesters were seized by police officers and held without cause and under extreme measures. So far, 29 of those protesters are still missing.

Victims and human rights activists have described how the Guadalajara protesters were intercepted before they even reached the demonstration. Those were kidnapped said that police stole their money, ID documents and even their cellphones before leaving them in abandoned areas far outside the city. Some even alleged they were shot with stun guns or beaten with clubs.

According to reports, there are still 29 protesters unaccounted for, which has revived difficult memories of the 2014 forced disappearances of 43 students from Ayotzinapa college. Police officers allied to a local drug cartel abducted students as they made their way to a demonstration in Mexico City. The remains of two of the students were later found, but six years on, the fate of the other 41 remains unknown.

For his part, Jalisco’s governor has apologized to protesters for how police responded to the protests.

Although he did try to blame the violence on out-of-state instigators, the state’s governor – Enrique Alfaro – said he was appalled that police had beaten protesters.

“It embarrasses me, it distresses me, it greatly pains me as a man from Jalisco, and as governor,” Alfaro said in a video posted on Twitter.

However, some believe that the federal authorities involved in the protests would not have acted that way without a green-light from the state’s governor.

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