Police injured in protest over Mexico missing students

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On Monday, a protest in Mexico City turned violent, leading to injuries for 26 police officers. The demonstration was organized by people demanding justice for 43 students who went missing in 2014 from Ayotzinapa, a town in the southern state of Guerrero. These students disappeared under mysterious and tragic circumstances, and the case has been a source of anger and frustration for many years.

The protest was triggered by the recent release from pre-trial detention of eight soldiers. These soldiers were suspected of being involved in the students’ disappearance. The release angered the protesters, who believe that the soldiers should remain in custody while their cases are being investigated.

During the protest, some demonstrators threw firecrackers at the police. This resulted in injuries to 26 officers, who suffered wounds to their arms, legs, and buttocks. All injured officers were taken to the hospital for treatment. After the confrontation, the protesters dispersed.

This was not the first protest related to the Ayotzinapa case. The Zócalo, the central square in Mexico City, has seen many demonstrations demanding justice for the missing students. In March, protesters used a lorry to break down one of the doors of the presidential palace. They were upset because President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had not met with them.

Solving the case of the missing 43 students was one of President López Obrador’s promises during his campaign. However, almost six years into his presidency, there has been little progress. The lack of results has led to ongoing frustration and anger among the victims’ families and human rights activists.

The 43 students, all male, attended a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa. They went missing on September 26, 2014, after returning from a protest. Despite several investigations over the years, the remains of only three of the 43 students have been found. The whereabouts of the remaining 40 students remain unknown, and while some relatives still hold out hope that they are alive, it is widely believed that they are dead.

In 2022, Alejandro Encinas, Mexico’s undersecretary for human rights, stated that officials at local, state, and federal levels were involved in the students’ disappearance. He called it a “state crime” and accused the government at the time of trying to cover up these links. Encinas also reported that there was no evidence the students were alive.

However, Encinas’s report faced criticism from the families of the disappeared students. They claimed that the presidential commission led by Encinas did not investigate military intelligence documents that might contain crucial information about the case. The military, on the other hand, has denied the existence of such documents.

Families and human rights activists have held regular protests to pressure the government into solving the case. The release of the eight soldiers last week added to their anger and concern. The families worry that the soldiers, who are required to report to court twice a month, might flee if they are not kept in custody.

The eight soldiers have been charged with forced disappearance and organized crime. Prosecutors claim that these soldiers were on patrol in the area where the students disappeared. The protesters fear that without proper detention, these suspects could escape justice.

The case of the missing 43 students from Ayotzinapa remains a significant and painful issue in Mexico. Despite years of protests and demands for justice, progress has been slow. The recent protest in Mexico City, which resulted in injuries to police officers, highlights the ongoing frustration and anger felt by the families of the disappeared students and their supporters. They continue to fight for answers and accountability, hoping that one day justice will be served for the 43 young men who went missing under such tragic and mysterious circumstances.

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