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Mexican Student Interrupts Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Apparent Protest for Mexico's Missing

Identified as Adán Cortés Salas, 21, the student attempted to hold a red-stained Mexican flag before 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai as the Pakistani activist received the Nobel Peace Prize.
December 11, 2014, 12:55am
Photo by Matt Dunham/AP

A man identified as a Mexican student on Wednesday interrupted the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech of 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai by holding up a red-stained Mexican flag and imploring the young Pakistani activist to not ignore Mexico.

"Please Malala, don't forget Mexico," the young man is heard saying just as a security guard grabs and escorts him away.

While he does not directly state it in footage of the ceremony, the young man likely interrupted the event in protest over the case of the Ayotzinapa Normal School students believed to have been murdered at the request of local authorities in the Mexican state of Guerrero in September.

Mexican and Norwegian authorities had yet to confirm the young man's identity by late Wednesday, but Mexico's foreign affairs ministry released a statement saying that a Mexican citizen had been arrested during the Nobel ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

Mexican news outlets and social media users identified him as 21-year-old Adán Cortés Salas, a student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, in southern Mexico City.

Ayotzinapa: A timeline of the mass disappearance that has shaken Mexico. Read more here.

Oslo police reportedly said the young man who interrupted the ceremony had sought asylum in Norway on Tuesday. Cortés confirmed on Twitter on November 24 that he would be traveling to Norway, but has been silent on the social platform since.

"I never regret anything, I never hold back," his Twitter bio reads in Spanish.

The young man was wearing a camera around his neck and was reportedly accredited as press at the event.

Así intentó acercarse a Malala Yousafzai un joven con una bandera de México, esta mañana — Alekx Rodríguez (@alekx_04)December 10, 2014

Indignation stemming from the now-42 missing students and the seven others who have been confirmed dead as a result of the police attack has spread across Mexico and major cities in the world in recent weeks.

Malala is joint recipient of the award this year, along with Indian children's rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi.

Yousafzai was targeted for assassination by Taliban mercenaries two years ago. It is believed that she was attacked for advocating equal rights for girls wishing to attend school. The young activist made no response to the interruption.

Watch the full length VICE News documentary The Missing 43: Mexico's Disappeared Students.

Follow Andrea Noel on Twitter @MetabolizedJunk.