MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexican authorities say the parents of 43 missing students can enter army bases to search for their sons, but say there is no evidence the army was involved in their disappearance.
The announcement late Tuesday follows sometimes violent demonstrations in which a group of parents and their supporters tried to use hijacked delivery trucks to ram open the gates of an army base.
The students disappeared in the southern state of Guerrero on Sept. 26, and federal prosecutors say they were apparently killed and incinerated by a drug gang.
The Attorney General's Office announced that parents can visit the bases. Army bases "are open to all citizens, and entrance has to be made in an orderly manner and with respect for our institutions," it said.
The Defense Department said in a separate statement that 11 soldiers had been injured in a protest Monday by supporters of the parents at a base in the city of Iguala, Guerrero, where the students disappeared.
"About 200 people, the majority with their faces covered, tried to force their way into the military facility," the department said. "After breaking down the gate with a soft drink delivery truck, they attacked military police by tossing fireworks, bottles and rocks and discharging fire extinguishers." It said the protesters took the bottles from a beer delivery truck they had also hijacked.
It said one soldier suffered a broken leg from a fireworks explosion and five state police officers and the drivers of the two hijacked trucks were also injured.
The parents said six protesters were injured, and blamed the army. "We were demanding they open the base to look for our sons and missing comrades. We were attacked by military personnel with tear gas and rocks."
The army denied soldiers had used tear gas.
Also Tuesday, federal prosecutor Tomas Zeron said there was no evidence so far that the army played any role in the disappearances, which occurred not far from the base.
Prosecutors say corrupt Iguala municipal police detained the 43 students after they came to Iguala to hijack buses. The police then allegedly turned the students over to a local drug gang with whom they had ties. The gang allegedly took the students to a nearby town, killed them and incinerated their bodies. Only one student has been identified by testing of the badly burned remains.
Soldiers have been criticized for not helping the students.