Holding pictures of missing sons and daughters high above their heads, they chant: “Where are they, our sons and daughters, where are they?” Saturday was Mother’s Day in Mexico and several thousand families whose loved ones have disappeared without a trace during the war on drugs were on the third March for Dignity and Justice.
A holy man performs an ancient Aztec ceremony with smoke, incense and flowers as families ask Mother Earth for strength and protection. More than 40,000 people are missing in Mexico, with a third of those thought to be lying in morgues unidentified and unclaimed. The crowd is scattered with red and pink roses, the traditional Mother’s Day gift given by children to their mothers.
Many have travelled hundreds of miles by bus overnight from every corner of Mexico to beg President Enrique Peña Nieto to search for their children. They slowly make their way down Paseo de Reforma, one of Mexico City’s main avenues, towards the towering Angel of Independence, where there is a roll-call of the disappeared.
Marches and protests are two a penny in Mexico City, but the sight of so many grief-stricken mothers wearing T-shirts bearing the faces of their missing children will be hard to forget.