MEXICO CITY (AP) — An explosion outside Mexico’s attorney general’s office Thursday, injuring police as protesters demonstrated ahead of the anniversary of the 2014 disappearance of 43 college students clashed with officers dressed in anti-riot gear.
Those injured in the explosion were loaded into ambulances. Broken glass and blood were visible.
Members of a bomb squad cordoned off the area. An unexploded object an explosives technician recovered appeared to be a small pipe bomb – a tube with two capped ends.
The Mexico City Police Department said 11 officers were injured by bursts of fireworks and some had bruises. They were all taken to hospital and the injuries were not considered life threatening.
The protest was just one of many activities planned ahead of the 8th anniversary of the students’ disappearance on Monday. Demonstrations involving relatives of missing students have generally remained peaceful.
Thursday’s protest also started that way, with chants and speeches. Most of the protesters boarded the buses and left before a small group who remained clashed with police.
Some masked protesters threw rocks and launched bottle rockets at police cordons. Others spray painted areas around the building with requirements for the safe return of missing students.
The police huddled together, crouched under their plastic shields and were engulfed in smoke.
“I was at the entrance to my store when four bombs went off like bottle rockets, that’s what they threw at the attorney general’s office, towards the windows,” said Jose Rivera Cruz, 19. , which sells clothes on one side of the office. “There was smoke and they closed the metro bus station (across the street). And most of the police were running and trying to get to the patrol cars and the ambulances.
As more police arrived to help the injured and secure the area, the protesters left, he said.
On September 26, 2014, local police in Iguala, Guerrero, kidnapped 43 students from a college of radical teachers. They were reportedly handed over to a drug gang and never seen again. Three victims were later identified by burnt bone fragments.
Last month, Interior Undersecretary Alejandro Encinas, who heads a truth commission to investigate the case, called it a “state crime” and directly implicated the military, among others. other state actors, including local and state police.
Former attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam, who oversaw the initial investigation into the disappearances, was arrested last month on charges of torture, official misconduct and enforced disappearance. Last week, Mexico arrested a retired general, who was in charge of the local military base in Iguala when the kidnappings took place.
Dozens of student protesters arrived at the attorney general’s office on buses on Thursday morning. Police with helmets and riot shields formed several lines of defense in front of the entrances.
On Wednesday, activists vandalized the exterior of Israel’s embassy in Mexico City. Mexico is seeking the extradition from Israel of another key figure in the investigation into the disappearances of students.