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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Protests in Mexico City, Acapulco, & La Paz, Bolivia Over 43 Missing Students

Relatives of 43 missing Mexican students, who the authorities say were murdered by a drugs gang, have led mass protests in the capital.

Convoys carrying the families arrived in Mexico City on Thursday after touring the country to rally support.

Masked protesters clashed with police near the airport hours before the three
marches started. Some 200 hooded protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails
 at police officers burning a motorcycle.
Many remain unconvinced by the official explanation and still hope the students will be found alive.

Francisco Lagro, father of 19-year-old Magdaleno, one of those missing, was travelling on one of the caravans.

"It's been almost two months without knowing where they are. We don't know anything and we're desperate," he said.

"What are they doing? In what conditions? Do they get any water or food? Are they tied up? We have so many questions."

The government's handling of the case of the missing students
has provoked widespread anger in Mexico
Many thousands have converged on Mexico City's main square, or Zocalo.

A small protest turned violent near Mexico City's international airport, when some 200 hooded protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police officers who had been trying to disperse them. Police say no-one was injured.

Despite that incident, the protests were less violent and destructive than those just over a week ago.

Many shops and businesses were reportedly closed on Thursday because of the marches.
Bolivian students marched in solidarity with their Mexican counterparts in La Paz
Demonstrators have also called for a nationwide strike. Protests are also under way in other parts of Mexico and abroad.

The abduction has galvanised opposition to rampant political corruption and violence, says the BBC's Wyre Davies in Mexico City.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has accused some of the protesters of trying to "destabilise" the state.

A student takes part in a protest by students of the Ayotzinapa school
and parents of the 43 missing students in Acapulco
The protests for the missing students reflect wider anger at political corruption
Analysts say the issue is the biggest challenge he has faced in his two years of office.

The students, all trainee teachers, went missing after attending a protest in Iguala, Guerrero State.

Forensic tests are being carried out on bodies found in mass graves in the state.

More than 100,000 people have been killed and 27,000 have disappeared in Mexico in the last decade.