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West Texas University Conducting Peaceful Protests in Honor of 43 Students in Guerrero Massacre

By Alicia Neaves

NewsWest 9

EL PASO - It's a tragedy felt around the world. 43 students from Guerrero, Mexico, kidnapped and murdered by gangs.

But now there is solidarity, in memory of those first-year undergrads who lost their lives, taking place at a university right here in West Texas.

After 43 students were kidnapped and murdered in Guerrero, Mexico, undergrads from the University of Texas at El Paso are holding peaceful protests offering their respects and commemorating these students who lost their lives just six weeks ago.

“They were trying to make a difference. They were like really really poor people that wanted to go back to they towns and teach young adults to read, or children to read and write. and those were their hopes. I think that is the thing that bothers us the most, so many of us,” UTEP Graduate Student and Founder of Ayotzinapa Sin Fronteras, Sharon Murillo, said.

First year students from Guerrero, who on their way to a peaceful protest in Iguala, were victims of an ambush by police. Some were shot, others suffocated after being stuffed in a dump truck, before being burned for 15 hours then thrown in the river.

Over 70 people were arrested in connection to this massacre, including police officers and the former Mayor of Iguala and his wife.

Just days ago, a local gang claimed responsibility for the crime.

“Many of us, we live in Juarez. So we feel that this is a cause very close to our hearts. We know what it's like to be activists and to work to have peace on Earth and our community,” Senior at UTEP and protest participant, Casandra Reyes, said.

After hearing the news of the disappearance, a group of students at the University of Texas at El Paso have gathered on more than one occasion to pay tribute to the victims of the Guerrero massacre.

“We were calling the names of everyone. If you have lost someone in Mexico due to the violence or crimes or whatever, you can call his or her name. If you're fortunate enough to not have lost anyone, you could call the name of a student from Ayotzinapa,” Murillo said.

They wrote a letter to the Mexican Consulate and got over 100 signatures of support from students and professors abroad.

“We are not in their shoes. We can't be in their shoes because they were in a different reality. our reality is different. We are allowed to speak up. We are allowed to read things that we don't feel are correct,” Reyes said.

Ayotzinapa Sin Frontera's next protest is scheduled for Thursday at 4:30 Mountain Time for anyone who wishes to attend.

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