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Protesting students block train tracks.

Teaching students continue their protests in Michoacán

After blocking railroad tracks for two days, students blocked traffic in Morelia

Teacher training students continue to block traffic and threaten violence in protests that began earlier this week in Morelia, Michoacán.

Enrolled at various teacher training colleges, or normal schools, in the region, the students hijacked four soft drink delivery trucks and blocked traffic in the state capital on Tuesday. They threatened to burn the vehicles if their demands were not met.

Among them: that they be ceded control of their schools because they were not consulted over the appointments of the directors of six normal schools and two regional educational centers, as well as the head of the local teacher training organization.

Students protested on Monday by blocking train tracks in Morelia’s Tiripetío neighborhood. About 50 students of the Vasco de Quiroga Rural Normal School obstructed the tracks with wood, rocks and vehicles.

Although Michoacán police announced that the protest had been broken up and train traffic returned to normal around 2:00pm on Tuesday, students returned Wednesday morning to block the tracks once again.

As a result of the week’s protests, the leader of the Michoacán Industrialists Association, Ricardo Bernal Vargas, requested that authorities remove the blockade from the tracks and called for the creation of a security protocol to deal with the illegal actions.

“I invite the federal and state governments to sit down with us and create a security protocol to be put into practice in order to punish and sanction those who break the law, because we can’t allow these actions. It’s not the way to get one’s voice heard,” Bernal said.

He estimated that the two-day blockade cost 500 million pesos (US $26 million) in economic damages.

Sources: El Universal (sp), Mi Morelia (sp)

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