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Mexico Protests Over Disappearances Escalate

Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances
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Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, which is being accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country.

Protesters firebombed the front door of the presidential palace in Mexico City earlier this month.

The students, who attended a teacher's college, disappeared in the rural town of Iguala in Guerrero state.

Government authorities accuse local police of detaining the students, all men, on the orders of the town's mayor, who did not want the students to disrupt a speech by his wife. The police then allegedly handed them over to a drug gang that killed them.

The mayor and his wife have been arrested.

But Mexicans continue to demand answers - not just about the students, but about the more than 20,000 Mexicans missing in a country plagued by drug violence and a weak legal system.

Solemnidad Sanchez, one of the protesters who recently took to the streets of Guerrero’s capital, said the protests are not just about the 43 students.

"The society and the people of Guerrero are tired, not just because of the disappearance of the 43 students, but tired of the thousands of missing in Guerrero and all over Mexico," said Sanchez.

Critics of Mexican President Pena Nieto say he has tried to deflect attention from deteriorating security conditions by focusing on other issues, like energy reforms.

Maureen Meyer, of the Washington Office on Latin America, said reality has finally caught up with the Mexican leader.

“You have long-term efforts that need to happen, but I think at a minimum you need the government to recognize the magnitude of the crisis they're facing and the magnitude of the security problems they have in parts of the country, and commit to justice, not just for the family members of these students but for all the other families that have been affected by violence in the past seven, eight years,” said Meyer.

Until now, there are no answers in the search for the missing students, only grim discoveries.

Mass graves have been found in the area around Iguala, raising even more questions: Whose bodies are buried there? And what is Enrique Pena Nieto's government going to do about it?