MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Thousands of protesters marched in Mexico City on Wednesday to demand the safe return of 43 students missing since last month after authorities arrested the main suspects in the disappearance.
Demonstrators chanted “they took them alive, we want them alive” and held a large banner with images of the 43 college students, whose disappearance has drawn international outrage and turned into a full-blown crisis for President Enrique Pena Nieto.
After a month on the lam, Jose Luis Abarca, the former mayor of the southern city of Iguala, and his wife Maria de Los Angeles Pineda were arrested in a gritty neighbourhood of Mexico City on Tuesday.
Their capture raised hopes that they could offer solid clues about the students’ whereabouts almost six weeks after they were attacked by Iguala police officers linked to the Guerreros Unidos gang. The night of terror left six people dead and the 43 students missing.
Prosecutors accuse the mayoral couple of colluding with the gang and ordering the attack over fears the students would disrupt a speech by Pineda, who was head of the local child protection agency.
But protesters, who were joined by the parents of the missing, said the arrest was not enough.
“The anger over the disappearance of the 43 students has not gone away with Abarca’s arrest,” said Bardomiano Martinez, deputy director of their teacher-training college in Guerrero state known as a bastion of left-wing radicalism.
“This is what we want to show the government with this march. We will mobilise until they are back, alive,” he said.