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Protesters burn Mexican state congress

Protesters have burned the Guerrero state legislature in continuing protests sparked by the disappearance of 43 college students. President Pena Nieto has come under fire for not staying home to deal with the crisis.

Angry protesters upset over the disappearance of 43 college students stormed a state congress building in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero on Wednesday, setting the building ablaze.

Roughly 500 masked students and teachers forced their way into the empty Guerrero state legislature and set fire to the library and the chamber where lawmakers conduct legislative sessions. Shortly before, protesters burned an education department office in the state capital of Chilpancingo.

The fires are a continuation of violent protests that erupted after authorities announced that in September, corrupt police officers had handed the missing young men over to gang hitmen who then murdered the students and incinerated their bodies.

The burning of the state legislature also comes just a day after protestors set fire to the Guerrero state headquarters of President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The governor of Guerrero state, Angel Aguirre, resigned last month after protesters burned the government palace in anger over the disappearance of the students.

Proteste in Chilpancingo, Mexiko

Protests broke out in the state capital of Chilpancingo shortly before the state legislature was set ablaze

President Pena Nieto is currently in China for summits, prompting criticism domestically from those who believe he should have remained in Mexico to address the protests, which have evolved into the biggest crisis of his presidency.

Not persuaded by government claims

Relatives and friends of the missing students have accused Mexican authorities of trying to prematurely close the case after prosecutors said gangsters in Guerrero state had admitted to incinerating bodies.

The students, who attended a teacher-training college known for its social activism in Tixtla, Guerrero state, disappeared on September 26 during a police interception that left six people dead in another Guerrero town, Iguala.

Parents said they would not accept the murder-incineration explanation unless independent Argentine forensic experts delivered DNA confirmation.

bw/jm (AFP, dpa)

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