Further horrific details emerged of the massacre of 43 student teachers by drug cartel gangs in collusion with municipal police, prompting thousands to protest across Mexico, aimed at the Government, perceived to be corrupt and unwilling to take action against those responsible.
Masked protesters attacked the presidential palace in Mexico City, setting fire to the main entrance. Riot police attacked hundreds of protesters who had converged on the city.
Hours earlier in Guerrero’s capital, Chilpancingo, more than 300 students threw rocks and firebombs at the regional government headquarters.
They also burned about 10 vehicles, including trucks and a federal police vehicle, and chanted, “They took them alive, we want them back alive!” outside the building, which was partially torched in a protest over the case last month. Similar protests took place across Mexico, as well as attacks on public buildings.
On September 23 the students from the Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa were captured by municipal police in the city of Iguala, before handing them over to the notorious Guerreros Unidos drug gang. The students were tortured then shot and their corpses incinerated, their ashes strewn into a river.
There were survivors who have described what happened. According to one – Mario, “When it started, one of us said, ‘Don’t be afraid, friends, they are firing to the sky’. The buses stopped, and that’s when I saw the bullets were coming toward us.” The young men began panicking. Mario and three other friends got off, each also wearing the red jacket of their Ayotzinapa uniforms. They saw that the gunfire was coming from men inside two municipal police cruisers. Trying to defend himself, Mario threw rocks in their direction. “As bullets kept hitting the buses, they ran to the first bus. “But then we saw that they were ten police cars, surrounding us. We had nowhere to run and no rocks to defend ourselves. One of the bullets hit Aldo, who fell right next to me. I saw how a pool of blood formed. I yelled at them that they already hit one of us, and they began firing more,” he went on. “If you moved, they fired, if you yelled or talked, they fired. They fired so much, from in front, and from behind, that us, the ones who got off, we hid in between the first and second bus.”