Missing Student Protests Lead to Violence in Mexico

Posted on Nov 17, 2014

In Mexico, protests around the disappearance and apparent murder of a group of students training to become teachers have grown violent in recent days, with the impacts felt in areas across the country. Reuters said the unrest started in the state of Guerrero, located in the southwest area of the country and where the teaching students were abducted. The anger over the issue has been taken up as a common cause by others throughout Mexico, however. The violence appears to be intensifying before it calms down or is otherwise controlled by Mexican police or military forces.

Guerrero Mexico has been the epicenter of violent protests

Findings behind the incident fanned the flames of unrest
The actual incident involving the kidnapping and presumed murders took place at the end of September, but an investigation by Mexico's office of the Attorney General reported that the perpetrators of the act were likely a combination of gang members and corrupt officers of local police forces. This announcement caused the negative sentiment already held by many citizens to magnify and was the catalyst for the outbreak of violent actions seen across the country in recent days. Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam didn't help matters with what many viewed as a flippant response to the questions of reporters shortly after the announcement about the perpetrators was made. CNN reported that his casual statement following the announcement when responding to questions from reporters - "Enough, I'm tired" - developed into a rallying cry in person and on social media against perceived issues in government.

Problems across the country
With the announcement from Karam and the following remark, protest incidents were seen across the country. In Guerrero, the state assembly building was set on fire by a group of protestors, which created secondary issues, such as the blocking of roads and the increased presence of security forces in the area. Cars around the assembly building were also set on fire, causing further damage and delays. In other parts of Mexico, airports and other travel hubs were blocked by groups angry at the government response. Some of the violence was directed at Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, with a building housing a local branch of his political party being attacked and damaged in Guerrero.

Businesses with personnel or operational assets in Mexico need to take steps related to risk identification and the protection of their investments. The situation hasn't been resolved and could lead to more problems in the future.


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