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Mexican protesters flood capital, pressure government on missing students

Tens of thousands of protesters marched on Mexico City Thursday to demand justice for 43 missing college students and voice their frustration with the government’s inability to stamp out corruption, impunity and drug violence.

The protest was largely peaceful, but a small group of demonstrators clashed with riot police at the end of the march, leading to several arrests and actions in which police used excessive force on demonstrators.

RELATED: Will Ayotzinapa protests spark revolutionary change in Mexico?

“We need justice, we need a new government, we need a new system, Mexicans deserve a better life,” said Marina Moreno, a protester from Mexico City who carried a sign that read “Goodbye EPN,” the initials of Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto.

“This is a social wake-up call, for people to see what is happening in Mexico,” said Jose Luis Santos, an artist who painted his hands red to symbolize the blood spilled by the country’s drug war.

MORE: Musicians release protest song for missing Ayotzinapa students

Protesters —students, union members, independent professionals, artists and retirees — marched peacefully to the Zocalo, a historic square in downtown Mexico City. Once there, however, scuffles broke out between a small group of masked demonstrators and riot police, who used tear gas to clear the crowds.

Some protesters said police indiscriminately attacked demonstrators as they tried to clear the Zocalo by pushing people out with their riot shields. This picture was taken by a photographer from the Claro Oscuro agency, it shows police beating a man in a green sweater, while he tries to protect his head.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 10.15.54 AM

Twitter user Maria Bonita uploaded this photo, which she claims proves that police used their batons and shields to strike protesters who were attempting to leave the square.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 10.18.11 AMGovernment officials said 31 protesters were arrested. Journalists in Mexico have also called for an investigation into police abuses after news emerged that at least two photographers were attacked by police officers who confiscated some of their equipment.

WATCH: Exclusive video of missing students before their disappearance

Video credits:

Camera/editor: Tania Miranda

Producer/Correspondent: Manuel Rueda

Producer/editor: Jared Goyette

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