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Tlatelolco massacre

The Tlatelolco massacre took place on the night of October 2, 1968, in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, Mexico City. Army and police forces surrounded approximately 5000 student protestors, and fired live rounds into the crowd.

The death toll is uncertain, but some estimates say that more than 300 people were killed, hundreds more wounded, and several thousand arrested.

The Tlatelolco massacre was preceded by months of political unrest in the Mexican capital, echoing student demonstrations and riots all over the world during 1968. Students were further inspired to demonstrations by the attention focused on Mexico City for the 1968 Olympic Games[?]. The Mexican president, Diaz Ordaz[?], was determined to stop the demonstrations, and in September, he ordered the army to occupy the campus of UNAM, the largest Mexican university. Students were beaten and arrested indiscriminately. Rector Barros Sierra resigned in protest on September 23.

Student demonstrators were not deterred, and the demonstrations grew in size, until, on October 2, after student strikes had lasted nine weeks, 15,000 students from various universities marched through the streets of Mexico City, carrying red carnations to protest the army's occupation of the university campus. By nightfall, 5,000 students and workers, many of them with spouses and children, had congregated in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco. At sunset, police and army started firing indiscriminately into the crowd, hitting not only protestors, but also other people who were present for reasons unrelated to the demonstrations.

In October 1997, the Mexican congress established a committee to investigate the Tlatelolco massacre. The committee interviewed many political players involved in the massacre, including Luis Echeverria, ex-president of Mexico, and minister of the interior at the time of the massacre. Echeverria admitted that the students had been unarmed, and also suggested that the military action was planned in advance, as a means to destroy the student movement.



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