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tlatelolco massacre A scene from 1968.

Tlatelolco massacre remembered today

300 believed killed after security forces opened fire on a crowd of 10,000

A dark day in the history of Mexico will be celebrated in the capital this afternoon when as many as 30,000 people are expected to march in remembrance of the Tlatelolco massacre on this day in 1968.

There were increasing social tensions at the time and strong opposition to the government’s massive investment in the 1968 Summer Olympics, which were due to open 10 days later.

In the period leading up to the events of October 2, student demonstrations were met with violent attacks by security forces, provoking further marches in protest, as students agitated for social, educational and political reforms.

On the day of the massacre, 10,000 students, along with neighboring families and other onlookers, gathered in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas where student leaders began to speak. But before long a military presence began growing in the area and helicopters appeared overhead.

After the aircraft dropped flares into the plaza, 5,000 soldiers and 200 tanks and trucks surrounded the area and began shooting. Government accounts later claimed that armed students had fired the first shots, and the soldiers simply fired back in defense.

As many as 300 people are believed to have been killed that day but officials always maintained that only 30 lost their lives. Security forces arrested more than 1,300 people.

For many years little information was available about what actually happened, but the release of official documents and some moves to investigate the event have since revealed that it was likely a special force of the presidential guard that first began firing from buildings around the square.

Today’s march, now a traditional event on October 2 each year, is expected to begin about 4:00p.m. Central Time, beginning at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas and terminating at the Zócalo.

Sources: Wikipedia (en)

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