MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Protesters angry at the suspected massacre of 43 students tried to break into Mexico City’s National Palace late Saturday while others torched several trucks in the south of the country.
Thousands of people marched in the capital in the latest demonstration over a case that has repulsed the nation and triggered the biggest crisis of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration.
The violent protests came a day after authorities said suspected gang hitmen confessed to killing the 43 students and incinerating their bodies in the southern state of Guerrero.
A small group of protesters used metal barricades as battering rams in a failed attempt to break open the door of the palace, which is known for its majestic Diego Rivera mural.
They tossed Molotov cocktails at the door, which sparked a brief fire, and spray-painted the words “we want them back alive” on the 16th-century building.
Security forces later took back control of the door. Pena Nieto uses the palace for ceremonies and he lives in the Los Pinos residence in another part of the capital.
An AFP correspondent saw two injured people and two protesters being detained.
During an evening march, protesters loudly counted from one to 43 while holding candles. Some chanted “Pena Nieto out!” and “the people don’t want you!”
“We are tired of the government. We live with fear, injustice, death and pain,” said Frida Vega, 18.
Hours earlier in Guerrero’s capital Chilpancingo, more than 300 students threw rocks and firebombs at the regional government headquarters.
They also burned around 10 vehicles, including trucks and a federal police vehicle, and chanted “they took them alive, we want them back alive” outside the building, which was partially torched in a protest over the case last month.
Despite the unrest, Pena Nieto plans to leave Sunday to attend major summits in China and Australia, though he shortened the trip due to the crisis.
Gang-linked police attacked busloads of students in the Guerrero city of Iguala on September 26, in a night of violence that left six people dead and the 43 missing.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said Friday that three Guerreros Unidos gang members confessed to receiving the students from the police before killing them.