CHILPANCINGO, Mexico: Mexicans furious at the presumed massacre of 43 students torched the ruling party’s Guerrero state headquarters and briefly took a police commander prisoner on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) as growing protests rocked President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government.
Riot police clashed with protesters in running street battles as black smoke billowed from the white two-story building of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the southern state’s capital Chilpancingo.
Violent protests have erupted in Mexico since authorities said on Friday that gang hitmen confessed to murdering the students and incinerating their bodies after corrupt police handed over the 43 young men in September in Guerrero.
Some 1,000 people, led by students and the radical Ceteg teachers union, marched in Chilpancingo before throwing stones and firebombs at police.
Three officers and two journalists, including a photographer working for Agence France-Presse, were injured after being struck by rocks, said a civil protection official.
“The vandalistic assault on our building is more than an attack against this political party. It is an aggression against Guerrero’s society and represents a threat to people that should not be repeated or left unpunished,” the PRI said.
Workers fled the building, which had undergone renovations after it was torched last year by protesters angry at a controversial education reform.
Tuesday’s protesters grabbed the state’s deputy public security chief, Juan Jose Gatica, and held him for several hours before handing him to a local human rights group.
Roman Hernandez, spokesman for the Human Rights Center of Tlachinollan Mountain, told Agence France-Presse the officer was released on condition that two detained teachers be freed, but that the pair had yet to be let go.
Manuel Martinez, a spokesman for the families of the 43, said more protests would come after another disappointing meeting with the country’s attorney general and interior minister.