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Thousands march for missing Mexican students

October 9, 2014

Tens of thousands have marched in Mexico to join tearful families of 43 missing students amid fears a gang may have executed them. The protesters accuse the police of being complicit in the students being abducted.

Demonstration im mexikanischen Chilpancingo nach der Ermordung von 43 Studenten
Image: Reuters

More than 20,000 were said to have gathered in Wednesday in Chilpancingo, the state capital of Guerrero, to protest about the disappearance of 43 students and demand that police find them.

As part of their demonstration, the participants were able to shut down the main highway that links Mexico City with Acapulco.

Among the banners was one posing the question "Who governs Guerrero?" - apparently referencing the fact that police have been implicated with the disappearances, allegedly as part of links with organized crime.

Investigators are still awaiting the results of tests to see if any of the 28 bodies that were found in a mass grave at the weekend belonged to the students. The corpses were found in the same location where two assassins from the Guerreros Unidos gang admitted to having executed 17 students.

Mexiko La Parota Polizei Massengrab Inspektion 04.10.2014
The authorities say they are still awaiting information about bodies found in a mass graveImage: picture-alliance/dpa/EFE

'Police fired on bus'

The disappearances occurred on September 26, after authorities say the police and their gang allies fired upon buses that the students had commandeered to take them home from the town of Iguala.

The students came from a teacher training college known as a bastion of radical protests and for defying drug cartel extortion. The region's student teachers are known to sometimes take over buses and force drivers to transport them. Three of the students were said to have died initially during that incident alone.

There was also violence later on in the day when an unidentified man fired shots at two taxis and a bus on the main highway, killing two of those on the bus and one in a taxi.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has received calls from the United Nations to solve the disappearances and investigate why attacks took place.

Hundreds of federal forces were deployed to take over security in Iguala on Monday, with local police being disarmed. Some 30 investigators from the attorney general's office were sent to the town.

An estimated 22 local police have been arrested in connection with the violence, while the town mayor of Iguala - who also faces investigation - has apparently fled.

rc/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)