Protesters burn state congress over Mexico's missing students

Protesters burn state congress over Mexico's missing students

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 11:50 pm

Escalating Protests  in Mexico over missing students

Escalating Protests in Mexico over missing students

CHILPANCINGO (AFP) – Protesters fuming over the disappearance of 43 college students set fire to a state congress in southern Mexico on Wednesday in another day of angry demonstrations over the presumed massacre.

Some 500 masked students and radical teachers broke into the empty Guerrero state legislature and burned the library and the chamber where local lawmakers hold sessions.

Moments earlier, protesters torched the education department’s audit office in another part of the state capital Chilpancingo.

Violent protests have erupted in Mexico since authorities said Friday that gang hitmen confessed to murdering the students and incinerating their bodies after corrupt police handed over the 43 young men in September in Guerrero.

The case has turned into the biggest crisis of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration, undermining his assurances that his security strategy to combat years of drug violence was finally bearing fruit.

Pena Nieto traveled to China for summits this week, brushing aside critics who said he should have stayed home to deal with the crisis.

Protesters set fire to the Guerrero state headquarters of his ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Chilpancingo on Tuesday, one day after blocking access to Acapulco’s airport for several hours.

The state’s governor, Angel Aguirre, resigned last month after protesters burned part of the government palace over his handling of the mass disappearance. He was replaced by an academic, Rogelio Ortega.

– DNA tests pending –

The students vanished on September 26 after police shot at their buses in the city of Iguala, killing six people, and delivered the 43 to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, authorities say.

The young men, who are from a teacher college known for its radical leftwing activism, had traveled to Iguala to collect funds but also stole four buses to return home when they came under fire.

Prosecutors say the city’s mayor ordered police to confront the students over fears they would disrupt a speech by his wife.

Last week, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said gang suspects told investigators that they killed the students in a landfill, burned their remains in a 14-hour bonfire, crushed them, and dumped them in a river.

But he stopped short of declaring the young aspiring teachers dead, saying DNA tests on remains were pending.

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