By Indira Cornelio, Translation by Jackie Zammuto

Disponible en español.

The disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero has led people not only in the Mexico, but all over the world, to take to the streets in a call for justice and the safe return of the students.

The protests in Mexico have been characterized by the number of groups coming together, the creative efforts to inform broad sectors of the public, but also by the police violence and criminalization of youth by the authorities.

Even before the threats and violence from the authorities began, the call for a massive nationwide protest on November 20th included a proposal: Everyone record everything. Days before the march, a video came to light showing authorities firing shots on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), resulting in the injury of one student. Following the incident, people outside of the university called for an explanation from the government and an official statement from the university’s president.

Policía de Investigación lesiona de bala a supuesto estudiante en la UNAM (Fotos: Twitter)
Images from the shooting at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Photos: Twitter)


After more than two hours of marching in Mexico City on November 20th, the protest was violently broken up by authorities, resulting in 12 arrests and hundreds of people injured by the police, including some who were not participating in the protest. The police violence was documented by participants who shared messages, videos and photos across social media networks. Following the news of the arrests, organizers called on protesters to share any evidence of the violence and arbitrary arrests.

A few days ago we also witnessed the arbitrary detention of Sandino Bucio Dovalí, an UNAM student whose arrest was documented by video and photos. These images also supported the work of organizers calling on protesters to take to the streets and demand his release.

Filmando Protestas
Filmando Protestas

With more protests organized for today, December 1 (#1dicMx), it’s more important than ever to document the events with video and photos. These images can be used to show the faults and human rights abuses committed by authorities.

In Mexico City, the organization Article 19 is reactivating its project “Rompe El Miedo” (Break the Fear) – a network of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists – that will document the violence against protestors before, during and after the protest. Follow their actions on social media via #rompeelmiedo.

Activists can better prepare to document and streamline the process of collecting media from protests. WITNESS has been sharing resources that may be of use to those attending and documenting the protests with video.

The following resources are in Spanish. [English versions available at]:



Video = Evidencia Aquí una guía para compartir video

¡Prepárate! Lista de cosas a llevar para filmar protestas, manifestaciones y conducta policial

Recomendaciones para antes, durante y después – Cómo grabar protestas en equipos

Usa el video para documentar #DDHH Registra y documenta, pero también protege la identidad de quien grabas!!

Indira Cornelio is a Mexican blogger and activist who works with WITNESS, SocialTIC and  Global Voices. Follow her on Twitter: @info_activismo. Jackie Zammuto is WITNESS’ Engagement Coordinator. Connect with her @jackiezammuto

Feature Image by Alex Torres, “And if your son were the 44th?” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) 

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