Six more clandestine graves have been found in Mexico near the town where 43 students allegedly were abducted by local police working for a drug gang. Relatives and supporters of the students have vowed to hold a week of protests to pressure authorities into finding the disappeared.
According to the newspaper El Universal, community police officers near the town of Iguala, in the southern state of Guerrero, found the additional graves, bringing the total number to 19. At least two of the graves were said to be freshly dug, as if recently prepared, but did not contain bodies.
Protesters say they will take over all 86 city halls in the state of Guerrero to pressure officials to find the missing students.
On Wednesday, hundreds of people protested at universities throughout Mexico. The largest protests were at schools in Mexico City, including the National Autonomous University, which has suspended classes for two days in support of the students. Holding pictures of the missing, demonstrators demanded justice and a quicker and more transparent investigation.
Earlier this week, authorities said DNA tests showed that 28 bodies discovered in five graves were not those of the students. There has been little information given about why the students were kidnapped. Authorities have said only that local police officers, 36 of whom are under arrest, confessed to abducting the students and turning them over to local drug traffickers.
Iguala’s mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, are wanted for questioning over the missing students and the graves. Dubbed the “imperial couple” by a Mexican newspaper, Abarca and Pineda, who is head of Iguala’s family welfare department, fled soon after the students disappeared.
Both have long-known familial ties to drug traffickers in the region, and the mayor was accused of killing a political rival last year.
Pineda obtained an “amparo,” a Mexican legal document, from a judge in Mexico City that blocks her arrest or imprisonment. But according to El Universal, she must first post a sizable bond and the document is void in cases where the accused is charged with a serious crime.