Mexican protesters breach presidential palace, pressure President López Obrador to act in Ayotzinapa case 

By March 7, 2024

Mexico City, Mexico — A group of protesters breached a door at Mexico’s presidential palace on Wednesday. The protesters had been camping out in front of the Palacio Nacional for days in an effort to pressure President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to deliver justice for 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College who were forcefully disappeared in 2014.

Parents and supporters of the 43 missing students had announced an indefinite encampment outside the palace in Mexico City’s main square, demanding that the president receive them to discuss the case, to no avail.

On the morning of March 6, protesters used a truck belonging to the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) to break down one of the palace’s doors while the president was inside for his daily press conference. 

Following the incident, López Obrador accused the parents of being manipulated by human rights groups to act against his government. 

“I am analyzing and conducting everything because what matters to me is to find the (students),” said López Obrador. “And the attitude, not of the parents but of the advisors and of the organizations that supposedly defend human rights, is, in the best of cases, political, very confrontational against us; that is to say, provocative, and we do not want confrontation at all.” 

The Ayotzinapa families accuse the government of covering up for military officials allegedly involved in the mass disappearance. 

The parents have accused Lopez Obrador’s administration of hindering the investigation. According to the parents and their lawyers, once the inquiries began to shed light on the role of the Mexican military in the students’ disappearance, the government started to undermine the investigation. 

Currently, the government itself has classified the disappearance as a “State crime,” however, no indictment or sentence has been handed down against high-ranking military officials, and the whereabouts of the students remain unknown. 

Following the incident, Vidulfo Rosales, the lawyer for the Ayotzinapa families, announced a withdrawal from the encampment and that they would await López Obrador’s response. However, the lawyer also announced that confrontations will escalate if dialogue with the president is not established. 

“We are working to make the protest more extensive and massive if there is no dialogue in the coming months,” Rosales told reporters outside the palace. 

During his press conference, Lopez Obrador refused to meet with the parents that same day. However, he announced that within “15 or 20 days,” he would meet with the relatives and show them evidence of “how the investigation was manipulated to protect certain people.”