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Video Shows Mexico’s Ceremonial Presidential Palace Torched Amid Protests

News that burned remains of 43 missing students may have been found sparked major demonstrations this weekend.
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The door of President Enrique Pena Nieto's ceremonial palace was set ablaze this weekend amid protests in reaction to reports that the remains of 43 student teachers may have been found in the country's southwest.

The fire starters were allegedly originally part of a larger, more peaceful protest, but reportedly broke away toward the National Palace, according to the Guardian. Saturday's demonstration was the latest in Mexico, where protesters have been demanding justice for the students who were kidnapped on September 26 and allegedly handed over to the Guerreros Unidos cartel by corrupt police officials.


Investigators last week found black trash bags stuffed with burned bones and ashes of dozens of human bodies, believing them to be those of the missing students. The discovery further diminished the already slight hope the students would be found alive, and reignited protests in the country.

Video of the event shows the blaze burning at the door of the National Palace — which was built for Hernán Cortés after the Spanish conquest but now houses the country's finance ministry — surrounded by dozens of protesters, many of whom were recording the event with smartphones and cameras.

Inside the Mexican College Where 43 Students Vanished. Read more here.

At one point, a protester raises a middle finger toward the fire, appropriately summing up Mexican sentiment toward the missing student crisis. Protesters closer to where the kidnapping took place burned the town hall of Iguala in October, and have been joined by their compatriots in protests across the country.

The remains found in trash bags last week corroborates the series of events given by three suspects who are in custody, according to Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam. The suspects told authorities that they loaded the students in the back of two cargo trucks before killing them, burning and chopping up the bodies, and stuffing the remains in trash bags.

The situation began when the then-Mayor Jose Luis Abarca of Iguala allegedly told police to intercept the students, who were on the way to protest an event being held by the now former mayor's wife. Once the police corralled the students, they handed them to the Guerreros Unidos gang, according to reports of the events. The kidnapping and apparent massacre of the students has been a gut punch for Mexican politicians, who have been trying to move past the country's reputation for corruption.

Following the abduction, Abarca and his wife fled Iguala and were on the run until they were discovered last week an impoverished section of Mexico City.

At least two people were injured in Saturday's protest. Police put out the flames shortly after they were set and reinforced barricades in front of the National Palace.

Ayotzinapa: A Timeline of the mass disappearance that has shaken Mexico.

Follow Payton Guion on Twitter @PaytonGuion