NEW YORK (AP) — Some of the parents of 43 students who disappeared last September in Mexico are visiting U.S. cities to bring attention to their cause, their spokesman said Wednesday during a protest.
The parents will press international bodies including the United Nations to help bring the students home and will denounce human-rights violations in their native country, said Felipe de la Cruz, a professor at the rural teachers college the students attended. He spoke at a protest in front of the Mexican Consulate in Manhattan.
Several parents, traveling in three caravans, will visit more than a dozen U.S. cities over the next three weeks, de la Cruz said. They left Mexico on Monday and plan to converge on April 28 in New York, where they hope to speak at the United Nations.
The students have not been seen since Sept. 26, when they were stopped by Iguala police and were turned over to a drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their remains, prosecutors allege.
A spokesman for the consulate said the Mexican government rejects and condemns the crime and is committed to resolving the case and bringing to justice the people responsible.
"The government of Mexico has undertaken an investigation without precedents because of its magnitude and transparency", the spokesman said in a statement.
More than 100 people have been detained, the consulate said, and the lawyers for the families of the students who disappeared have had access to the investigation files.
Iguala's mayor at the time, Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez, was arrested. He submitted his resignation, saying he wanted to leave room for authorities to investigate the violent acts in his town. Most of the municipal police force also has been arrested or sent out of state for training and background checks.
Burned bits of bone recovered from a nearby garbage dump have been sent to Austria for genetic testing. Parents of the students and thousands of other Mexicans reject their government's version of the case and have taken to the streets in demonstrations all over their country.
"We are here to seek justice" and to "punish the intellectual and material assassins" responsible for the disappearances, de la Cruz said.
He said he plans to speak at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, part of the Organization of American States, in Washington on Friday.
He also said he plans to speak at Amnesty International USA's meeting this weekend in Brooklyn. He added that he and the parents hope to meet with President Barack Obama.