Human rights groups are speaking out about the 11 peaceful demonstrators who were arrested Thursday at a Mexico City march spurred by the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The protesters have been charged with attempted murder and rioting, but their “supporters insist that they had nothing to do with the violence” and that their persecution is a tactic used to suppress the mass movement currently taking place in Mexico.

“It is very worrying that a march to repudiate crimes committed by police ended with more crimes committed by police,” said lawyer Layda Negrete, who attended the same protest and says she was attacked by riot police as they yelled, “Fucking bitches, is this why you wanted to come out and march?”

The Guardian:

…complaints [by human rights groups] centre on the indictment for attempted murder, criminal association and rioting of 11 protesters who were arrested after masked youths clashed with police in the central Zócalo square, following a huge and mostly peaceful march through the capital last Thursday…“There is no evidence that they did anything other than attend the march,” said Fernando Ríos of the Mexican human rights network All Rights for Everybody. “What we do know is that the police used excessive force as they cleared the Zócalo.”

Ríos said human rights groups fear the crackdown is associated with a recent statement by President Enrique Peña Nieto, who accused violent protesters of “kidnapping” the wave of indignation triggered by the disappearance of the 43 students…“This is more than an attack on freedom of expression,” Ríos said. “It is an effort to discourage people from demonstrating for the truth and for justice in the face of an inoperative, ineffective state that only pretends to be acting in the case [of the students].”

The eight men and three women arrested on Thursday are now being held in high-security jails hundreds of miles from Mexico City. The detainees – most of whom are students – include a 47-year-old Chilean doctoral student, whose case has prompted demonstrations in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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