RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Some 800 people, including students, teachers, members of social organizations, and parents marched on Wednesday in the cities of Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, to demand the release of 95 students detained on Tuesday by state police.
On Tuesday, Chiapas state police officers dispersed a protest of some 250 students, who carried out blockades to demand improvements in education from the government. At least 95 of the protesters were detained.
According to some reports, some 1,464 rockets and 280 Molotov cocktails were confiscated from those arrested, presumably students from the Matumactzá rural teacher training school.
In addition, a passenger bus and two cargo vehicles that had been seized during the blockade were taken away from them.
Students from the Jacinto Canek indigenous teacher training college, the Manuel Larraínzar teacher training college, the Central Council of Struggle, Altos de la sección 7, and displaced persons from the Puebla de Chenalhó ejido, and parents of the detainees participated in this day’s march.
One of the marches began at noon, starting at Km 46 of the San Cristóbal-Tuxtla Gutiérrez toll road towards the center of San Cristóbal and the other in Tuxtla Gutiérrez headed towards the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) where a rally was held to demand the release of the 95 detained students, among them 74 women.
The demonstrators carried banners with messages such as: “Mactu, hold on, Jacinto stands up!”, “On-site examination for the normalistas”, “Mactu lives, the struggle continues!”, “Normales united will never be defeated”, while the central slogan was “Punishment for the guilty!”.
They also demanded that the governor of the state, Rutilio Escandón, put an end to the repression.
DEMAND FREEDOM FOR DETAINEES
“This march is in solidarity with the comrades of Matumactzá, because they were repressed and this is something outrageous for us, because as normal schools we understand their demands, among them to demand their presence in the new entrance exam for this 2021-2022 school cycle,” said Ana, a student of the Jacinto Canek bilingual normal school.
Arturo, another normalista student, said that there are “more than 100 students detained” and many more missing.
The student said that the authorities have not allowed them to demonstrate in the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, because the authorities ordered the police to act.
“Since yesterday (Tuesday), they have been checking and watching us, and we are anticipating a massive arrest again; that is why this day we are demonstrating peacefully in San Cristóbal de las Casas,” he said.
For its part, the state Attorney General’s Office informed that it opened a file of investigation for the crimes of rioting, gangs, robbery with violence, damages, and attacks on the highway for the events that took place on Tuesday on the Chiapa de Corzo-San Cristobal road.
The students and other organizations denounced that their protest was repressed with excessive force by the agents, who also used tear gas to deactivate the demonstration.
After holding some dialogue tables with the state government for improvements in education and study plans, the students decided to go to the protests, starting last Saturday, which ended on Tuesday with the arrest of their comrades.