Violence broke out during a demonstration as distraught relatives of Mexico's missing 43 Ayotzinapa students marched through Guadeloupe's streets, demanding that the authorities revive efforts to find their disappeared loved ones.
At least 100 protesters marched to the sound of a band, carrying banners of their lost loved ones to the steps of the Basilica of Guadalupe on Monday. They're petitioning for the return of their children and to raise awareness of the impunity that has marred the 39-month-long case.
Arriving at the basilica, the bereaved families' entry was blocked by at least 300 members of the military, who refused to let them pass. Police tried to subdue the angry mob, but the families took up a microphone and continued the rally outside the cathedral doors.
"Neither forgiveness, nor forgetfulness," was the main mantra of the distraught relatives.
Their defense lawyer, Vidulfo Rosales, has denounced the government's woefully inadequate attempts to find the missing students.
"There has not been the slightest progress in the investigation," Rosales said, stressing that the government continues to value its electoral interests above those of finding justice.
He also highlighted the many times previous protests at the cathedral have been met with police repression over the past year, forcing parents to seek out other locations to hold their demonstrations.
Rosales explained that most of the affected family members are Indigenous or Catholic, and as such turn to the Virgin Mary to ask for support in such distressing times.
"We are here to ask you to help us find out children, to tell the Virgin to soften the hearts of the authorities," said Cristina Bautista, mother of disappeared student Benjamin Ascencio.
The group was eventually welcomed in by Bishop Raul Vera, who offered mass for the missing students. Relatives of the disappeared then gave speeches denouncing the federal government's handling of the case, which dates back to 2014.
Protesters are demanding that police comply with the four lines of investigation and clarify the case. The movement for justice was continued in other states, by members of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE).
"We seek to inform and raise awareness about what happened with the Ayotzinapa students, since the government has not really been able to say what really happened in the face of so many contradictions," said educator Fernando Jimenez.
The group of students from the Rural Normal School "Raul Isidro Burgos" in Ayotzinapa disappeared in September 2014 en route to a political protest in a nearby city. No trace of them has ever found.
Official statements claim the students were arrested in Iguala by local authorities, who then delivered them to members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel which killed them and burned their bodies.
Experts say incinerating so many bodies in a dumpster without leaving a single trace, a claim made in official police reports, is tecnhically impossible. Many of the expert witnesses have since joined family members in their push for justice.