Last But Not Least: National University Students Join Atenco March
Authorities Set Up Obstacles to Keep Potential Protesters Inside Mexico City
By Amber Howard
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Mexico City
May 6, 2006
After the call to march at 4:00 pm today, May 5th, from Chapingo to Texcoco in protest of the police violence taking place, students from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) met at 12:00 in the administration building. Their goal was to create a plan of action of the best way to arrive at Chapingo, a University approximately 20 minutes from the capital in the state of Mexico. They decided to take public RTP buses. The students boarded three buses and were only able to travel 4 kilometers before the police stopped the buses. The police, not wanting people to arrive at the march, demanded that the students get off the buses and began pulling people forcefully down. “A group of us had to create a circle around the doors so that everyone could get down safely,” relates Dario, a philosophy student at UNAM. “If we had been poorly organized the police would have arrested those left behind.”
After being kicked off the buses for no apparent reason, the students were still determined to make it to the march. They decided that the metro would be safer and proceeded to board the closest subway station. At 3 o’clock p.m. students and others heading towards the march, numbering around 200 people convened, at the San Lázaro metro station to organize everyone and remain united in the last bit of the journey.
Upon boarding the metro towards La Paz it became obvious that even though metro was determined to be the safest method of transportation, the government wasn’t going to make it easy. At each metro stop, the train paused for an unusually long amount of time, much longer than the typical minute for loading and unloading of passengers. Attempts to discourage the marchers and actually prevent them from arrival did not succeed in lowering the enthusiasm. Even when the train stopped various times between stations for up to five minutes at a time, the students retained a sense of humor, singing “tell my mother that she shouldn’t wait for me today, because this movement doesn’t take one step backwards.” Some even poked fun at the spies or metro workers who boarded the train. “Doesn’t it make you embarrassed to be an informer to the government?” questioned one of the students, “What do you tell your family when you go home?”
Pablo, another student who has been present in various meetings with the Other Campaign explained the motives behind the government’s actions that day. “They want to keep us from arriving at the march. The less people we are the better for them. But they can’t stop us; we are going to get there. We are going to be in solidarity with the people of Atenco.”
Finally the metro bus arrived at its last stop, La Paz, where everyone unloaded. Climbing the stairs to the exit, several police were present, silently taking photos of people. While they didn’t say anything or harass anyone, their presence was felt as people ducked and tried to cover their faces in order to not be captured on film. From there everyone boarded buses to take them to Chapingo. By this time it was 5 p.m. Although the march was scheduled to leave at 4 p.m., word came that the march was waiting for this last contingent of students.
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