Mexico has seen a week of demonstrations, some violent, in almost every region, in protest of the murder of 46 student-teachers by police in collusion with drugs cartel Guerrero Unidos. This is no one-off: in recent years over 22,000 Mexicans have suffered a similar fate and over the last eight years alone around 100,000 Mexicans – mostly peasants – were murdered. Meanwhile, in a vain effort to deflect the discontent away from government, rife with corruption, the authorities ordered that the former mayor and his wife of the city of Iguala be charged with the kidnapping and murder of the students.
Major demonstrations took place on the streets of Tixtla, Acapulco (where the airport was blockaded) and Chilpancingo (where the local HQ of the Party of Institutional Revolution, the party of the President, was set alight). The central offices of the Guerrero state government, which is the region where the murders took place, was set on fire too. In the state of Michoacan teachers besieged all the municipal buildings; in Chiapas, where the Zapatistas have their base, students blocked major highways. On Friday the Mexican President, Enrique Pena Nieto, was in Australia, where he was greeted with demonstrations in all the major cities.
Iguala’s former mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, who last year was accused of shooting a political activist who had been kidnapped, is believed to have ordered the abduction of forty-six students, three of whom are confirmed dead, with the remaining forty-three missing and feared dead too. The army – which has a long history of collusion with the drugs cartels – also had a role to play in that at the time the students went missing the soldiers in the local barracks had conveniently disappeared.
Meanwhile in the hills of Guerrero local guerilla groups are mobilising in readiness to intervene.