On Wednesday, November 12, 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 members of the radical CETEG teachers union broke into the empty Guerrero state legislature and set fire to the library and the chamber where local lawmakers hold sessions.
Moments earlier, protesters set fire to 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.
Protesters torched 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 torched part of the government palace over his handling of the mass disappearance. He was replaced by an academic, Rogelio Ortega.
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 had traveled to Iguala to collect funds but also stole four buses to return home when they came under fire.
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.
Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told parents of the missing during a meeting Tuesday that authorities will “redouble” search efforts and that the investigation remains open.
At the request of the families, the government signed an agreement with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday to provide technical assistance in the investigation.
Parents of the students, who deeply distrust the government, refuse to believe they are dead and say they will only believe DNA results from independent Argentine forensic experts.
Charred remains found in the landfill and river in the town of Cocula, near Iguala, will be sent Wednesday to forensic specialists at Austria’s University of Innsbruck.
The university’s medical institute has used its expertise in several high-profile cases, including identifying some victims of the 2004 South Asian tsunami.
The institute worked with US experts to identify the remains of the son and daughter of Russia’s last tsar in 2008.
That same year, the lab was able to identify 13 victims of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile after analyzing 47 bones.
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