Dozens of people protesting the kidnapping and disappearance of 43 students in Mexico in 2014 broke through one of the entrances to the country’s presidential palace, Mexican media reported today.

Protesters forced open the door using a stolen white pickup truck from Mexico’s state-owned electricity company as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gave his daily press conference inside the building.

In the footage broadcast by the Mexican television network Milenio some protesters, with their faces covered, can be seen entering the presidential palace.

Police forces at the scene used tear gas to disperse the crowd, according to the El Universal newspaper, which also reported that police placed barricades inside the presidential palace to stop protesters from entering the building further.

The police made arrests, according to local media.

It is unclear if protesters remain at the site.

Asked about the incident by a reporter during the press conference, López Obrador said he did not intend to quell the protest and that the government would continue to investigate the case of the missing students.

But he denounced a “provocation” as election campaigning kicked off in Mexico last Friday ahead of the June 2 presidential election.

“This is a move against us,” he stressed during the press conference when asked what exactly was happening outside the presidential palace.

“They want us to respond violently. We will not do it, as we are not powerful,” he continued.

“We will fix the door and there is no problem,” he assured.

The ruling party’s candidate Claudia Sheinbaum is the heavy favorite in the presidential election, boosted by the popularity of the outgoing president, who cannot run again after a single six-year term under the Constitution.

Protesters have attempted to break down the doors of the presidential palace since 2018. It is the first time in years that they have succeeded.

Relatives of the 43 missing, accompanied by their lawyers, activists and students often demonstrate in Mexico City especially as the anniversary of the tragedy approaches.

The president assured the protesters that a member of the interior ministry would meet them. He estimated that the lawyers and activists accompanying the parents were motivated by “political purposes”.

The Ayotchinapa students disappeared on the night of September 27, 2014 after arriving in Iguala, in the state of Guerrero (south), where they were preparing to board buses to go to the Mexican capital and participate in a demonstration.