Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Student protest escalates in Chiapas after police attempt to clear blockade

Student protests in Chiapas turned violent Monday as protesters threw stones and molotov cocktails as they fought security forces, injuring a state police officer with a missile to the face, and setting alight an office of the National Electoral Institute (INE). Riot police responded with tear gas.

Police were attempting to clear protesters — Mactumatzá teacher training college students — from the Tuxtla Gutiérrez-San Fernando highway.

Sources from the Ministry of Security reported that the clashes began when the students tried to enter a mechanical workshop belonging to the ministry, throwing explosives.

Earlier in the day, protesters set fire to the INE office in the state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez and vandalized five INE vehicles at another office.

The ministry reported that the police recovered 11 commercial transport vehicles, a 20,000 liter fuel tank owned by Pemex and a pickup truck belonging to the Federal Electricity Commission, all of which had been commandeered on Friday and Saturday.

The INE delegate for Chiapas, Arturo de León Loredo, said a criminal complaint would be filed with the federal Attorney General’s Office and called the attack “a regrettable act … in a society governed by the rule of law.” He added, however, that human life had not been put at risk by the attacks on INE facilities.

Protests began last week in reaction to the arrest of trainee teachers on May 18 during a blockade on the Tuxtla Gutiérrez-San Cristóbal de las Casas toll road. Demanding in-person enrollment exams at their college, 19 male and 74 female teachers in training were arrested and taken to prison, accused of rioting, gang activity and robbery with violence.

The female students were released on a conditional basis, and the male students await trial in prison.

Sources: El Universal (sp), La Jornada (sp)

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