‘We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us’

“October 2 will not be forgotten,” was the theme of the rally hosted by MeCHA and Puente members in Gordon Quad Oct. 2 where people gathered to commemorate the 40-year anniversary of Mexico City’s Tlatelolco Massacre.

Rally coordinators also used the day as an opportunity to protest the Operation Gatekeeper Act, implemented by the government in 1994, which they claim has resulted in the deaths of over 5,000 Mexican citizens.

The rally showcased several speakers from MeCHA a speeche by Christian Ramirez of the American Friends Service Committee and one by an eye-witness to the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre.

It was on Oct. 2 in Mexico City when the Mexican military and police opened fire on students who had gathered in a city square to protest the government of then president, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz and the Industrial Revolutionary Party. The altercation resulted in the loss of between 200-300 lives, most of them students.

“If we forget about these things they can happen again,” said Jaziel Rivas a City College student, MeCHA member and Oct. 2 event coordinator.

The tone of the rally was pointedly somber and reverent reminding people not only of the lives lost on Oct. 2 in 1968 but of lives still being lost at the Mexican border. Many attendees attribute these deaths to Operation Gatekeeper.

“First our people were being massacred by the Mexican regime and now by the United States Government,” said Victor Montenegro, an engineering major at City College.

Speakers and event coordinators attribute at least 4,000 deaths to the implementation of Operation Gatekeeper, which sealed off the Mexican/U.S. border from Imperial Beach to the San Ysidro station and is ever expanding. Using high tech tools like infrared and unmanned planes to deter illegal aliens at these once popular crossover sites has, according to Ramirez and Rivas, sent people illegally trying to cross the border into desert and mountain regions where they die in great numbers.

“We want no more deaths. Operation Gatekeeper is death to our people and we don’t want anymore death to our people,” said Rivas.

The rally ended with a protest of approximately 30 people walking from City College to Fourth and B Streets Downtown carrying signs protesting Operation Gatekeeper and chanting, “We didn’t cross the border the border crossed us.”

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‘We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us’