Dec 25, 3:57 PM EST

Protesters in Mexico slam German weapons supplier

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MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Protesters in Mexico claim that German arms manufacturers exported rifles to a corrupt local police department implicated in the disappearance of 43 students.

About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the German embassy in Mexico City on Thursday to denounce what they said is the use of German-made G36 assault rifles by police in southern Guerrero state. The police are accused of detaining the students and turning them over to a drug gang, which apparently killed them.

Protest leader Felipe de la Cruz said Germany should prevent such sales.

Germany's government told weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH in 2010 to cease all arms deliveries to Mexico amid concerns the guns were ending up in parts of the country where Berlin has forbidden weapons exports over human rights issues.

At the time, the company denied any wrongdoing. No one from the company's public relations department immediately responded to an email seeking comment Thursday. A person who answered the telephone at the company's office in Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany, said no one was in the office on Christmas Day.

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