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Protesters in Mexico torch ruling party headquarters over missing students, hold state official hostage

Estudiantes arrojan piedras al palacio de gobierno en Chilpancingo, capital del estado de Guerrero, México, lunes 13 de octubre de 2014. Violentas protestas con lanzamiento de cócteles molotov contra edificios gubernamentales, algunos de los cuales sufrieron daños, se vivieron el lunes en el estado del sur de México donde un estudiante alemán fue baleado por la policía aparentemente por confusión la noche anterior y donde hace dos semanas desaparecieron 43 estudiantes, presuntamente a manos de la policía.  (AP Foto/Felix Marquez)
College students throw rocks as they trash and later set on fire the state capital building in Chilpancingo, Mexico, Monday Oct. 13, 2014. Hundreds of protesting teachers and students demanding answers about the 43 students who went missing on Sept. 26 during a confrontation with police, clashed with police at the local congress and outside the state government palace Monday. Officials are attempting to determine if any of the missing students are in newly discovered mass graves. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

Estudiantes arrojan piedras al palacio de gobierno en Chilpancingo, capital del estado de Guerrero, México, lunes 13 de octubre de 2014. Violentas protestas con lanzamiento de cócteles molotov contra edificios gubernamentales, algunos de los cuales sufrieron daños, se vivieron el lunes en el estado del sur de México donde un estudiante alemán fue baleado por la policía aparentemente por confusión la noche anterior y donde hace dos semanas desaparecieron 43 estudiantes, presuntamente a manos de la policía. (AP Foto/Felix Marquez) College students throw rocks as they trash and later set on fire the state capital building in Chilpancingo, Mexico, Monday Oct. 13, 2014. Hundreds of protesting teachers and students demanding answers about the 43 students who went missing on Sept. 26 during a confrontation with police, clashed with police at the local congress and outside the state government palace Monday. Officials are attempting to determine if any of the missing students are in newly discovered mass graves. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)  (ap)

Teachers protesting Tuesday in solidarity with 43 education students abducted – and apparently slain – in late September attacked the Guerrero state office of Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, sparking a clash with police.

According to El Universal, they also held hostage the state's Security Assistant Secretary José Juan Gatica for two hours in the afternoon, hoping to exchange him for two teachers who are under police custody. 

The protesters, who are mostly teachers with the union Coordinadora Estatal de Trabajadores de la Educación de Guerrero (CETEG), arrived at the PRI headquarters in Chilpancingo, Guerrero's capital, shortly before 11:00 a.m. and force their way into the building.

News agency EFE reported that the attackers, most of them hooded and armed with sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails, vandalized the offices and set fires before riot police intervened.

CETEG activists camped out for weeks in Chilpancingo's main square have mounted both peaceful and violent demonstrations over the case of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, a teacher-training institution near the town of Iguala, Guerrero.

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News accounts said Tuesday's confrontation left several people hurt and ambulances were spotted at the scene, but authorities offered no information on the number of injured or the seriousness of their injuries.

The PRI's state chairman in Guerrero, Cuauthemoc Salgado, told Milenio Television that the attackers numbered between 400 and 500.

The roughly 60 percent working inside the office at the time of the assault were able to leave the building, he said.

The 43 Ayotzinapa students were detained by police and handed over to the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, which killed them and burned the bodies to eliminate all traces of the victims, Mexican authorities say, citing statements by suspects in the case.

Based on reporting by EFE.

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