Frustration builds over Mexican students feared dead

IGUALA, Mexico -- Anger is boiling over in Mexico where dozens of college students vanished in September. Their families blame the government -- and drug gangs.

Protesters clashed with police again in the state of Guerrero, where the 43 students disappeared six weeks ago. Many fear the students have been murdered. Their bodies still have not been found.

In Iguala, the town where they were last seen, high school students rallied against what they call a corrupt government.

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Protesters in Mexico want justice for 43 students that have been missing since September.
CBS News

Sir De Aquino, a teacher, says this kind of protest would never have happened before.

"We all lived in fear," he explained in Spanish. "There were kidnappings so people kept quiet because they were afraid."

They feared the town's mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife -- both suspected of having ties to violent drug gangs. Kidnappings and extortion are part of daily life here.

The Mexican government has charged Abarca for the college students' kidnapping. Three gang members have also been arrested.

Investigators believe the town's corrupt police turned the students over to gang members who killed them and burned their bodies. It's still not clear why.

Iguala is not only where the students were kidnapped, it's also where the first wave of violent protests started. City Hall was set on fire; the mayor's office was gutted. Not much remains.

Iguala City Councilwoman Sofia Mendoza Martinez believes her husband was killed last June after an ongoing feud with the mayor over aid to farmers.

"To see how he died, how they tortured him," she said. "It was such an awful thing."

She asked state and federal authorities to investigate, but nothing happened.

Even now, she's nervous about speaking out. Her eyes scanned the crowd in a park as she talked with us.

"Yes I'm afraid, but I speak out because if this had happened to someone else, my husband would be fighting for justice on their behalf," she said.

On Wednesday, Mexico's attorney general said he will now investigate Abarca in the death of Martinez's husband.

Violent demonstrations again here in the city of Chilpancingo are a sign that unlike previous protests in this country, this one may not easily go away.