Saturday, June 15, 2024

26 police injured as Ayotzinapa protesters attack National Palace

Twenty-six police officers were injured on Monday when students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College attacked Mexico’s National Palace with firecrackers.

The Mexico City Ministry of Citizens Security (SSC) said in a statement that the officers were injured by “shrapnel from firecrackers and rockets” while “carrying out a deployment due to the presence of protesters in the area.”

The National Palace, the seat of executive power and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s residence, is located in the historic center of Mexico City opposite the capital’s main square, the Zócalo.

The SSC said that paramedics treated the 26 injured officers, who mainly sustained wounds to their legs, arms and buttocks. All of the injured police were subsequently taken to hospital “for the specialized medical care they require,” the ministry said.

In one video posted to social media, several loud explosions can be heard as firecrackers land in a barricaded area in front of the National Palace.

According to reports, the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College — a school in Guerrero attended by the 43 young men who were abducted and presumably killed in 2014 — fled in vehicles after launching the explosives at the building. No arrests were reported.

The attack came after a judge ruled that eight soldiers accused of involvement in the disappearance of the 43 students almost 10 years ago could leave preventive detention pending trial. They were released from a military prison late last week.

Ayotzinapa students have been demanding to meet with López Obrador to discuss the unsolved 2014 case for some time. They reiterated that demand at Monday’s protest in the Zócalo, the Milenio newspaper reported.

In March, Ayotzinapa normalistas, as student teachers are known, used a pickup truck to break open wooden doors at the National Palace while the president was speaking at a press conference inside the historic building. They didn’t reach the room where López Obrador was presiding over his daily mañanera.

Since the beginning of his six-year term in 2018, the president has pledged to solve the Ayotzinapa case and hold those responsible to account.

But less than five months before he leaves office, there is still no certainty about what happened to the 43 young men and no one has been convicted of the abduction and murder of the students, although more than 100 people have been arrested.

There have been countless protests across Mexico since the students disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014, during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto. Authorities including the army and municipal police in Iguala, Guerrero, have long been suspected of involvement in the disappearance of the students.

Ayotzinapa students have also protested in recent months against the killing by Guerrero police of their classmate Yanqui Kothan Gómez Peralta. State police shot Gómez dead on March 7 while traveling in a vehicle in Chilpancingo with two other students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College.

Early last month, some 200 Ayotzinapa students carried out an attack on the state Government Palace complex in Chilpancingo that caused a fire on the second floor of one building.

With reports from El Universal, El Financiero, Milenio and López-Dóriga Digital

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