The disappearance of 43 Mexican students on 26th September in Iguala has sparked a divide between civilians and the government. During this period tensions have grown exponentially with mass protests having taken place across the country in Chilpancingo, Iguala and Mexico City in particular. The governor of Iguala, Angel Aguirre, has denied any corrupt activity on his part though this comes after the arrest of over 30 police so far for working alongside drug cartels. One can infer from this that there are deep-laying problems within Mexican law and order. As a result, protests have quickly turned violent with young protestors using Molotov cocktails and overturning cars. Further significant damage has been caused as a government headquarters building has been torched in with 500 protestors involved.
It should be noted this activity came after they were allegedly told they were not allowed to attempt to identify the bodies of what could possibly been their fellow students after a mass graves have been discovered. These tensions have largely been exacerbated by the discovery of a mass grave in which the burnt bodies of 28 people have been discovered, it was suggested that many of these may be of the missing students though it has been reported that none of the 43 missing students were found amongst them after relatives of 37 of the 43 students took DNA tests. However, this still worryingly leaves the missing students whereabouts currently unknown. With the Mexican police force still under scrutiny the Mexican Navy Marines have been used to cordon off areas surrounding the mass graves while riot police have been deployed within cities to subdue the increasingly violent protests.
It has been noted that the students may have been attending a class known for its left-wing agenda and radical outspokenness regarding the drug gangs whilst also taking part in political protests. It may be suggested that the disappearance of the 43 students is linked to this and offers an explanation to the mass abduction and violent nature of it in which 6 other people were also killed.
It is difficult to see where these events will lead, however, this has raised several questions. Can the Mexican people trust their police force and by extension, their system of law and order? Substantial reforms are likely to be needed, particularly since many people are calling for the resignation of the governor of Chilpancingo, Angel Aguirre. Consequently he has allowed for a referendum regarding his future in politics. Arguably one of the most worrying aspects is the violent nature of the protests taking place in the cities; there is the hope that the Mexican people can avoid the events of the 1968 Tlateloco massacre, in which hundreds of students and civilians were killed by police over similar protests. Should this be related to Mexican drug gangs, as it is highly suggested, it is estimated that 22,322 people have been declared missing since the war on drugs in 2006 with these 43 students becoming yet more victims of this campaign.