Chiapas police during the withdrawal of Mactumactzá Rural Teachers School students Photo: Juan Carlos Santiago Hernández
By: Elio Henríquez
San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Chiapas
“The police came to attack us, to repress us,” a member of the student committee said about the police eviction of which the Mactumactzá Rural Teachers School students were the object this Monday in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
He said that with tear gases, the police evicted them and retreated towards the campus, when they were carrying out dissemination activities on the northern bypass of the capital to demand the release of their 19 compañeros, prisoners in the El Amate prison.
He said that: “we have already told them [the authorities] on repeated occasions that it’s not because we want to hold demonstrations or anything, but we want the release of our compañeros, because it’s something just, and the federal Executive must know that, because he also in his moment demonstrated and contested in elections, for what he believed was just and we also [do it] for what is just, the release of our compañeros who were practically deprived of their freedom.”
The eviction that took place this Monday morning (May 31) derived into a confrontation between police and the students that launched Molotov cocktails, stones, sticks and firecrackers.
The Secretariat of Citizen Security and Protection (SSPC, its initials in Spanish) reported that two police were injured, while the student leader, who asked for anonymity, said that several of his compañeros were hit by tear gas cartridges that the police “launched at close range,” in addition to intoxication from the substance.
The SSPC pointed out that after driving back the students, the agents recovered six units from different companies that the students had in their possession, including a Petróleos Mexicanos pipe con 20,000 liters of gasoline.
The student leader demanded that the state and federal governments: “heed our requests and release our compañeros. Enough of the harassment of students! We don’t want any more repression or violence, but rather dialogue, that they sit down to talk to us and that they listen to us and not just come, harass us, repress and even threaten us with death. We want a dialogue with the president [Andrés Manuel López Obrador] and the governor [Rutilio Escandón].”
He maintained that the area was “flooded” with tear gas because the agents threw hundreds of cartridges. “It is an injustice what the state government does to the teachers college students and displaced persons, so we’re going to continue fighting; we’re not going to permit the government and police to repress us. It didn’t matter to them that there were women and children inside the school,” said an indigenous woman displaced from Chenalhó who was in the school, where the gases reached.
The Chiapas government assured that the actions were carried out “in full compliance with the protocol for restoration of order,” while reporting that the police: “collected various explosive devices like bombs and spent grenades that the students used to attack the security forces, and which have already been made available to an agent of the Public Ministry.”
Last May 18, state police arrested 95 people –91 students and four people displaced from Chenalhó who joined their mobilizations– because they took possession of the tollbooth on the highway that connects San Cristóbal de las Casas to Tuxtla Gutiérrez. On May 23, 74 women students were conditionally released, while a judge linked 19 men, among them two displaced persons, to criminal process.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee