Eighteen students have been expelled from the National Autonomous University (UNAM) after a violent confrontation at the university’s main campus in Mexico City Monday that left two students seriously injured.
A group of aggressors armed with sticks, stones, knives, Molotov cocktails and other weapons attacked students from the university’s College of Sciences and Humanities (CCH) and other UNAM departments who were protesting peacefully on a range of issues following the recent murder of a female student.
The clash took place in front of the rectory at the campus known as Ciudad Universitaria (University City) in southern Mexico City.
A number of students sustained minor injuries while two were severely hurt, including a 19-year-old male student whose skull was fractured. The two students remain in hospital in serious condition.
A statement issued by UNAM rector Enrique Graue Wiechers said that there is evidence that three students’ groups as well as other outside organizations, all of which are “at the service of interests external to our university,” were responsible for the violence.
“I have now signed for the definitive expulsion of 18 individuals enrolled in the university and they are being sent to the University Tribunal for ratification,” Graue said.
The aim of the incendiary groups, known as porros, is to destabilize the university and “create a climate of insecurity and uncertainty,” the statement charged.
Graue also said in a later video message that “reports of the incidents have already been filed with the [Mexico City] prosecutor’s office and they will proceed . . . against those who are responsible for these actions.”
Investigations are continuing to identify the rest of the offenders “and those who facilitated their arrival [at the university] and sponsored the aggression,” the rector added. “We will not rest until we see them disappear from our surroundings.”
Mexico City Mayor José Ramón Amieva said the aggression was pre-planned and that a bus and private cars had transported the aggressors en masse to the university.
“We have information that there was prior organization, in other words, they boarded these buses, they got into private cars and obviously when they arrived there, they had their own weapons with which to attack, they didn’t [just] find them . . .” he said.
Amieva added that all evidence, including surveillance camera footage of the armed group traveling to the university, will be turned over to the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR).
Mayor-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, a political ally of president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also condemned the actions of the porros and said that such violence is always sponsored by other groups.
Given that Ciudad Universitaria is a federal zone, she said, the PGR must initiate an investigation to determine who was behind the attack.
A total of 41 university faculties and other UNAM-affiliated institutes implemented work stoppages in response to the violence and protests calling for porros to be eliminated from all university campuses are continuing.