CHILPANCINGO, Mexico – Classmates of more than 50 college students who went missing over the weekend in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero pelted the state capitol with rocks on Monday and demanded the resignation of Gov. Angel Aguirre.
Some 3,000 students, teachers and family members of the missing young people marched peacefully to the legislative building in Chilpancingo, Guerrero’s capital.
But during a protest in front of the capitol, youths wearing hoods broke through the security barriers and hurled rocks at the building, destroying the glass facade. Police did not intervene.
The protesters demanded justice for six people killed last Friday night in the town of Iguala, including three students from the Ayotzinapa Normal Rural teachers college.
They also demanded the safe return of their Ayotzinapa classmates, who remain missing after the violence of last Friday.
Administrators at Ayotzinapa Normal said 56 students were missing, while the state government put the number at 57.
The incident started when “a group of police officers tried to cut off the buses” carrying the young people, an Ayotzinapa Normal student who witnessed the violence told Efe.
“After a struggle, the (municipal) police officers used their arms against the students, who had just finished taking up a collection to cover the expenses of the boarders at the Normal (School),” the student said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Mexico’s normal schools train future primary-school instructors.
More than 20 classmates were taken away in patrol cars with the numbers 017, 018, 020, 022 and 028, the student said, adding that “nothing has been heard from them.”
A group of armed civilians attacked the students just before midnight Friday as they held a press conference, killing two young people.
“We all ran away from there, it was very dark and all you heard were the blasts, the comrades dispersed and we have not learned of the whereabouts of at least 30 of them who are still missing,” the student said.
Authorities found the body the next day of Julio Cesar Mondragon, lying 500 meters (about 1,640 feet) from the scene of the second attack.
Mondragon’s face had been flayed and his eyes removed, the kind of mutilation typical of underworld killings.
Three people, including a minor, were killed in another attack on Friday night targeting a bus carrying the Third-Division Avispones soccer team from Chilpancingo.
Relatives fear that an organized crime group may be holding the missing students and called on army and police commanders to speed up the search.
Classmates and relatives have been searching for the missing students, who range in age from 18 to 25, since Saturday, contacting hospitals and the morgue in Iguala, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Chilpancingo.
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca told MVS radio that he was informed on Friday night of disturbances involving the students, who allegedly beat and robbed people attending an official event in the town’s main plaza.
Security Secretary Felipe Flores was given orders to monitor the situation but “not touch anyone,” Abarca told the radio station on Monday.
The mayor said he learned about “the deaths of some people” via social networks and media reports early Saturday.
Twenty-two police officers have been arrested in connection with the wave of violence, which also left 17 people wounded, the Guerrero state government said.