22 April 2019
Thousands of protesters march on Mexico City to demand justice for the 43 missing students. Photo: AFP
Thousands of protesters march on Mexico City to demand justice for the 43 missing students. Photo: AFP

Protesters torch Mexico town hall over missing students

Protesters on Wednesday set fire to a town hall building in Iguala, Mexico, angry over the fate of 43 student-teachers who went missing last month, Reuters reported.

Mexican authorities suspect the town mayor and his wife were behind the disappearances and have ordered their arrest.

The wife reportedly has links with the notorious Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) gang, and the couple have gone into hiding.

The students went missing on Sept. 26 from Iguala in the southwestern state of Guerrero, after they clashed with police. The incident sent shockwaves across Mexico and undermined President Enrique Pena Nieto’s claims that Mexico is getting safer under his watch, the news agency said.

So far, federal authorities have arrested 52 people in connection with the incident, including dozens of police who have links to the gang. The gang’s leader, Sidronio Casarrubias, was caught last week.

Thousands marched in Iguala on Wednesday to protest the disappearance of the teachers in training. After the march, masked men set fire to the municipal offices with Molotov cocktails and smashed the windows, the report said.

In Mexico City, Attorney General Jesus Murillo said Casarrubias had told prosecutors that Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, had ordered two local police forces to stop the students from disrupting a political event on Sept. 26.

Murillo said police shot and killed one student and detained the others before turning them over to Guerreros Unidos members. He said the gang then mistook the students for members of a rival criminal group.

Authorities continue to investigate nine mass graves in the area where they have already found 30 bodies. Initial examinations showed none of the bodies belonged to the students.

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The interior of the Iguala town hall building after masked men set it on fire. Photo: AFP

Masked men smash the windows of the Iguala town hall building on Wednesday. Photo:AFP

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