Tens of thousands marched in Mexico City on Wednesday to demand answers about the fate of 43 missing trainee teachers, who authorities fear were massacred by police in league with gang members.
The students went missing in the town of Iguala in the southwestern state of Guerrero on September 26 after clashing with police and masked men. Since then, dozens of police have been arrested in connection with the case, which has sent shock waves across Mexico.
Authorities say many of the missing students were abducted by police.
Despite the discovery of mass graves near Iguala and the arrest of dozens in connection with the disappearance, authorities are still trying to find the students or their bodies.
Justice for the students
Protester Miriam Perez told Reuters that, alive or dead, the students must be found.
Perez called for "justice for them" and "that the bodies be found, whatever the way. If they're aren't alive, then at least find them so they [relatives] can mourn their youth."
The violence is overshadowing President Enrique Pena Nieto's efforts to focus public attention on sweeping economic reforms aimed at boosting economic growth in Latin America's No. 2 economy.
But the wave of violence in Guerrero that followed the disappearance and allegations of collusion among police, authorities and drug gangs have fueled widespread mistrust of the government.
Protester Jorge Antonio Aguilar said the demonstrations show authorities "that we don't have faith in them and so civil society needs to organize itself in different ways. ... We have no government. We don't have one."
Pena Nieto took office two years ago pledging to end the violence that has claimed about 100,000 victims since the start of 2007. Although homicides have diminished on his watch, other crimes such as extortion and kidnapping have increased.