Mexican state's HQ torched in demo for missing students

Mexican state's HQ torched in demo for missing students
Mexican state's HQ torched in demo for missing students.

CHILPANCINGO, Mexico - Protesters torched part of the government headquarters of Mexico's southern state of Guerrero on Monday amid demonstrations demanding the return of 43 students missing since an attack by gang-linked police.

Hundreds of students and teachers ransacked the government complex in the state capital Chilpancingo, allowing workers to leave before breaking windows and setting a building on fire.

The protesters called for Governor Angel Aguirre to resign as they fled the area while flames and plumes of black smoke billowed from the ground floor of a building's broken windows.

Dozens of state police later came in while firefighters battled the blaze. A small truck was set on fire near the complex.

No injuries were immediately reported in the fires. The students later broke into Chilpancingo's city hall and shattered windows.

The attack on Aguirre's offices came after clashes between riot police and protesters armed with rocks and sticks at the gates of the state congress.

Some 150 police used shields to keep about 500 protesters away from the state legislature. Five teachers and two officers were injured, an AFP correspondent said.

Protesters had already set fired to the local parliament's library in a protest days after the students disappeared.

"Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), we will increase our actions and radicalize our movement if the governor does not give information about the students' whereabouts by midnight (Monday)," Ramos Reyes, leader of the CETEG teachers union, told AFP.

Fears over 43 students' fate

Students from a teacher training college outside Chilpancingo have been fuming over the fate of 43 comrades who vanished after their buses were shot at by municipal police in the city of Iguala on September 26.

Authorities are investigating whether the students were buried in several mass graves found outside Iguala, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Mexico City. Officials say it will take time for DNA results to be ready.

Prosecutors have detained 26 Iguala police officers in the case, accusing them of colluding with the Guerreros Unidos gang in a night of violence that also left six people dead and 25 wounded.

Four gang members were also arrested along with four other unidentified people.

Witnesses say they saw several students whisked away in police cars that night.

The city's mayor, his wife and the police chief are wanted for questioning but have gone into hiding.

The students are known for their radical protests, but they insist they went to Iguala to raise funds, though authorities say they also seized buses to return home, a common practice for them to move around the state.

The case has drawn international condemnation and outrage among the Mexican public, bringing tens of thousands of people to protests across the nation last week.

As the authorities wrestle with the mass disappearance, Guerrero police were caught in another controversial shooting late Sunday, when a state anti-kidnap unit fired at a van carrying two German students, wounding one of them.

Prosecutors say the van ignored a checkpoint the officers had set up in Chilpancingo and that the officers shot at its tires to stop it after hearing a gun-like noise.

The student was in stable condition at a Mexico City hospital, according to his school in Mexico, the Monterrey Institute of Technology.

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