By Lyndsey Kelly
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
MEXICO CITY, Mexico – On Friday 26 September 2013 in Guerrero, one of Mexico’s poorest and most violent states, police have joined a search for 58 students who went missing after a violent outburst at a local protest.
Guerrero is notorious for frequent protests by teachers resisting reforms and violent gang turf wars relating to the cultivation and sale of drugs. Friday’s protest developed due to students from the Ayotzinapa teacher-training college protesting against what they consider to be discriminatory hiring practices for teachers, which favor urban students over rural ones.
Reports indicate that the protests turned violent when the students attempted to leave the protest. Members of the student union claim that their fellow students were attempting to hitchhike a ride back to their college campus on local busses. However the Iguala municipal police allege that the students were behaving unruly and trying to seize the local busses by force.
Media outlets report that the police proceeded to chase and fire at the students. Shots were fired at a local bus carrying a third division football team, the Los Avispones, which the gunmen presumably mistook for the bus “seized” by the student, causing the bus to crash killing the driver and one player.
The students have since disappeared after the eruption of the clashes between security forces and the students. The clashes were deadly, claiming the lives of six people while injuring 17 others. While it is known that police took part in the shootings, a party of unidentified gunmen was also involved in the violent outburst. Activists claim that security forces are holding the missing students illegally. However state authorities have denied such accusations.
State authorities initially detained 282 local officer after the incident, but have since released all but 22, who are under arrest for suspicion of shooting at the students. Additionally, a helicopter has been deployed to assist in the search for the students.
For more information, please see the following:
BBC – Mexican Students Missing After Protest in Iguala – 29 Sept. 2014.
GULF NEWS – Dozens Of Students Missing After Mexican Protest Crackdown – 29 Sept. 2014.
NEWS 24 – Dozens of Students Missing After Mexican Protest – 29. Sept. 2014.
YAHOO NEWS – Dozens of Students Missing After Mexican Protest Crackdown – 29. Sept. 2014.