Mexico: Fifty years since the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre


Mexico: Fifty years since the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre

Don Knowland

6 October 2018

Tuesday, October 2 marked the passage of 50 years since the slaughter of protesting students by Mexico’s military in the Plaza of Three Cultures in the Tlatelolco area of Mexico City.

Tens of thousands of university students, teachers, and relatives of “disappeared” persons marched from Tlatelolco to the Plaza of the Constitution or “Zocalo” in downtown Mexico City, as did thousands of others in least 13 states, to “commemorate” the massacre, so that brutal day and the memory of those who perished or disappeared would not be forgotten.

National student strikes, occupations and demonstrations had begun on July 26, 1968 with a march to the Zocalo. A half million attended another demonstration in the Zocalo in August.

The student movement, part of a global radicalization of layers of students, youth and workers, was inspired by major political developments that year, such as Czechoslovakia’s “Prague Spring,” when workers rose up against its Stalinist regime, and a general strike of 10 million workers in May-June 1968 that brought France to the brink of proletarian revolution.

The student strike committee included delegations from 70 universities and college preparatory schools. Its principal demands included autonomy for the country’s universities, the freeing of political prisoners, and an end to police repression and violence.

On October 2, 1968 upwards of ten thousand working- and middle-class students marched to the Plaza of the Three Cultures, joined by university employees, as well as workers from dissident trade unions, including railroad workers. Some demonstrators had brought their spouses and children.

Thousands of army troops and tanks surrounded the…

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