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Violent Protests Over Missing Students Continue in Mexico


Firefighters try to extinguish burning vehicles in front of the state congress building after protesting teachers torched them in the state capital city of Chilpancingo, Mexico, Nov. 12, 2014.

Protesters set fire to a state legislative building in southern Mexico Wednesday as angry demonstrations over the disappearance of 43 college students intensified.

Authorities in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state, say demonstrators torched the chamber where lawmakers hold their regular legislative sessions. They also set fire to the building housing Guerrero state's education department.

Massive protests have broken out across Mexico since the students vanished on September 26 in the city of Iguala. Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo says evidence suggests the students were rounded up by local police and turned over to a local drug gang, Guerreros Unidos. The gang allegedly killed the students, burned their bodies and threw the ashes into a river.

Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping, including members of the Guerreros Unidos gang, more than two dozen police officers, and the ousted mayor of the city of Iguala and his wife.

Authorities say Mayor Jose Luis Abarca ordered the officers to confront the students over fears they would derail a speech by his wife, who headed the local child protection agency.

The protests have led to scores of cancellations this week in hotels located in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco ahead of the country's annual commemoration of its 1910 revolution, and damaged President Enrique Pena Nieto's standing.

Critics called on Pena Nieto to remain in Mexico this week to deal with the crisis, instead of traveling to China to attend an international summit.