Protestors face off against federal police over barriers surrounding the National Palace in Mexico City, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Mexico and around the world Thursday night in what may be the biggest protest yet over the kidnapping and presumed murder of 43 students.
The demonstrators sought the return of the students, who have not been seen since they were taken by police from a rural teachers' college in September. Nov. 20 is usually a day reserved for the celebration of Mexico's 1910-17 Revolution, but Mexicans were in no mood to celebrate.
In Mexico City, thousands participated in a march that culminated in the city's main square. Many of the marchers carried "mourning" flags with Mexico's red and green national colors substituted by black stripes.
México: El Zócalo (DF) lleno x los 43 estudiantes de Iguala desaparecidos. Mal momento para Peña Nieto y su gobiernopic.twitter.com/YBbP40fwRN— Juan Manuel Karg (@jmkarg) November 21, 2014
"The entire country is outraged," a protester named Nora Jaime told the Associated Press. "It is not just them," she added, referring to the disappeared students. " There are thousands of disappeared, thousands of clandestine graves, thousands of mothers who don't know where their children are."
The demonstrators demanded the resignation of President Enrique Peña Nieto,shouting anti-government slogans and chanting "Out with Peña."
Nieto has been the subject of intense criticism in Mexico for his handling of the students' kidnapping. Meanwhile, he has also been scrutinized after it was discovered his $7 million dollar mansion was built buy a construction firm that had been awarded millions in government contracts.
These frustrations came to a head Thursday night as protesters burnt a piñata effigy of the president.
— Faro en las calles (@FaroenlasCalles) November 21, 2014
The Burning Man - Pacific protestors burn a @EPN figure in Mexico City
Pic: Proceso pic.twitter.com/RiDnZQy6Gd— 132Global (@Global132) November 21, 2014
The demonstrations were peaceful for the most part, but took a violent turn near the end of the night as police tried to prevent a handful of protesters from throwing molotov cocktails at the national palace.
Earlier in the day, about 200 youthful protesters, some with their faces covered by masks or bandanas, clashed with police as they tried to block a main expressway to the international airport.
Protesters hurled rocks, fireworks and gasoline bombs at the police, at least one of whom was hit by the projectiles. Some passengers had to walk to the terminal, but flights were not interrupted and expressways were reopened.
Although several gang members confessed to murdering the students, many are still calling for them to be returned alive. Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced Nov. 7 that remains thought to be those of the students were found in a dump, but they were so badly burned they had to be shipped to Austria for special testing, which is currently underway. Parents of the missing students said they will hold out hope until their bodies are identified.
Tags: AYOTZINAPA, GUERRERO, MEXICO, US & World