Mexican gov’t agency says 1968 massacre was a ‘state crime’

MEXICO CITY (AP) — For the first time, a Mexican government body acknowledged on Monday that the massacre of student protesters at the capital’s Plaza of the Three Cultures on Oct. 2, 1968, was a “state crime.”

Jaime Rochin, head of the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims, said the government used “snipers who fired to create chaos, terror and an official narrative to criminalize” anti-government demonstrations. He said this was “a state crime that continued beyond Oct. 2 with arbitrary arrests and torture.”

A specialized prosecutor’s office was opened in 2002 to try to ascertain what happened. It filed charges against former President Luis Echeverria, who as interior secretary in 1968 was in charge of policing, but a tribunal exonerated him in 2007.

The special office, which was closed in 2007, also never reached a conclusion on how many people were killed. Estimates of the dead have ranged from 25 to more than 300.