Updated 07:14 AM EDT, Wed, Jun 23, 2021

Mexico's Missing 43 Update: Lost Students' Parents Initiate Hunger Strike

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A 43-hour hunger strike was held by the parents of the 43 Mexican students who went missing last year.

The protest took place on Wednesday, a day before the parents' meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto ahead of the case's anniversary, The Rakyat Post reported. The missing young men's families gathered under a white tarp in front of Mexico City's cathedral located at the historic Zocalo square. The protest kicked off at 7PM.

Holding signs with pictures and names of their sons, the parents were examined by a doctor to ensure that their bodies are prepared for the nearly two-day fast, The Rakyat Post noted. Nardo Flores, whose son Bernardo is among the missing, said that they will only drink water for the next 43 hours.

"I don't know if I can handle the fast. I'm diabetic. I'll do all I can," said Genovena Sanchez, whose 21-year-old son Israel Caballero is with the missing, as quoted by Yahoo! News "I'm doing this to get my son back."

Epifanio Alvarez held a photograph of his son and said, "Today is very special. Today my son turns 23 and wherever he may be, we are looking for him," Yahoo! News reported

Deputy interior minister Roberto Campa said that the meeting between the president and the parents of the missing students is "complicated," given that the issue also touches on Mexico's thousands of people who have disappeared as well, the news outlet added. But Campa is hoping for a productive discussion to get justice.

Vidulfo Rosales, the parents' attorney, said they will urge Peña Nieto to organize a new investigation and for police authorities to hand the 43 students alive, the news outlet further wrote. The students, who are from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in Guerrero's southern state, disappeared after local police in the city of Iguala attacked them. The young men are in Iguala to hijack buses to travel to a place where a protest was taking place.

According to prosecutors, police officials brought the young men to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which killed the students and burned their remains, The Rakyat Post reported. However, the official investigation met inquiries from independent experts at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who claimed that there was no evidence of the students being incinerated in a funeral pyre at a garbage dump.

Only one student was "positively identified among charred remains while the attorney general said last week that there was a possible match for a second one," Yahoo! News reported. On Saturday, the parents and other students from their teacher college will hold a protest in Mexico City to observe the one-year anniversary of their disappearance.

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