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Mexico presidential palace attacked amid rage over missing students

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Mexico presidential palace attacked amid rage over missing students


Protesters in Mexico City have attacked the presidential palace in the latest expression of revulsion at the apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers.

The wooden door was briefly set alight but the protesters did not get inside.

A group carrying torches broke away from what had been a mostly peaceful protest demanding justice for the students, who were abducted six weeks ago and apparently murdered and incinerated after an operation involving corrupt police in league with drug gang members.

Police put out the flames and enforced fencing designed to keep the protesters away from the National Palace, which was built for Hernan Cortes after the Spanish conquest and now houses Mexico’s finance ministry.

President Enrique Peña Nieto lives in a presidential residence across town, and was not in the palace at the time.

The march was otherwise peaceful.

The government has pointed the finger at corrupt police and organised crime.

Authorities say three suspects admitted killing and incinerating the students, saying they had been handed over to them by police.

Unidentified remains were found at a river close to the southern town of Iguala where they disappeared six weeks ago.

But the students’ relatives, critical of the investigation, want proof.

Among the demonstrators on Saturday night, anger and suspicion also persist.

“I’m here to support my fellow students from Ayotzinapa (the town where the trainee teachers studied), because the whole population knows that it was the government who really killed them. It wasn’t a drug cartel or criminals. It was really the government,” said Isaac Santos, a telecommunications student.

There were chants of “Peña resign” and “Peña killer”.

President Enrique Peña Nieto came to power in 2012 vowing to restore order in a country where 100,000 people are said to have died at the hands of organised crime since 2007.

He has promised the missing students’ parents that those responsible for the “horrible crime” will all be arrested.

Last Tuesday, police captured Iguala’s fugitive former mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda, who are suspected of being the masterminds behind the abduction.

Over 70 other people have also been arrested over the disappearance of the students who had clashed with police. Officers are among those detained.

On Saturday night the words “Mexican Government” were written in English on a cardboard banner laid at the foot of a shrine to the missing students.

The scandal has highlighted collusion between police and gangsters. For the protesters demanding justice for the disappeared, those at the top are just as guilty.

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