Here’s What You Need To Know About The “Missing Students” Protests In Mexico

It all started in Iguala, the state's third largest city.

Mexico Missing Students Protests 2014

Fifty thousand people took to the streets in Mexico City's main avenues last week and demonstrations took place all over the country.

More than 80 delegates to the Inter-University Assembly have called for a nationwide strike to halt all educational activities on November 5. Protesters set fire to state headquarters in the city of Guerrero, and are occupying supermarkets, shopping and subways centers.

Mexico Missing Students Protests 2014

On September 26, three busloads of students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School organized a peaceful sit-in in Iguala – where María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, wife of the city’s Mayor José Luis Abarca, of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution was giving a speech.

The students were protesting against educational reforms that could potentially raise fees and make it impossible for them to afford school.

Mexico Missing Students Protests 2014

Matters took an ugly turn after the police – allegedly on the mayor’s orders – opened fire on the demonstrators, killing three students and three bystanders.

In the aftermath, 43 students disappeared and a month later, they remain missing.

Mexico Missing Students Protests 2014

Although there is no evidence that the remains belong to the missing students, inquiries into the disappearance has lead to not one but nineteen mass graves.

Moreover, investigators believe that after firing on the students, the police delivered missing students to members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel, telling them that the students were members of a rival drug gang.

Mexico Missing Students Protests 2014

Drug mafia in Mexico has long haunted the citizens. In 2013, members of drug cartels killed more than 16,000 people in the country. Another 60,000 people were killed between 2006 and 2012.

In fact, recent reports suggest Mexican drug lords are now monitoring social media websites and kidnapping/killing people daring to post anything against them

Together, the drug mafia’s alleged involvement in the disappearance of the students along with political corruption has sparked nationwide outrage – leading to violent protests.

"I think these kinds of atrocities happen because the people in power think that they will always be on top, and nobody will be able to touch them," said Marco, a 23-year-old university student who did not want to give his last name.

Mexico Missing Students Protests 2014

"Mexico has become worse than a death camp. I never thought I would live to see something so horrible," said Mariela Lopez, a 56-year-old teacher from Mexico City as she walked under the hot afternoon sun down the capital's central boulevard.

Although Governor of Guerrero Angel Aguirre has resigned, Mexican protesters are still protesting to make sure the investigation doesn’t slow down.