Mexico: commission blames police in Guerrero repression

On March 27 Mexico’s governmental National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) issued recommendations strongly condemning state and federal officials and police agents for their actions in a Dec. 12 confrontation between the police and student protesters in the southwestern state of Guerrero that left three people dead. The recommendations called for compensation to be paid to the people injured and for officials to apologize to the victims and their relatives in a public ceremony in Guerrero. CNDH president Raúl Plascencia Villanueva said the commission was also planning to file a criminal complaint with the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) against 184 officials and police agents.

The Dec. 12 confrontation started when police agents and soldiers tried to disperse hundreds of protesters blocking a highway to publicize their demands for improvements at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College, located in the Guerrero village of Ayotzinapa. Two students were shot dead in the violence, and a worker from a nearby gas station died in a fire that police said was caused by a Molotov bomb thrown by a student. Police officials on the scene blamed the students for the shooting deaths, claiming that the agents had all come to the protest without firearms.

In fact, 91 of the 168 federal and state agents on the scene were carrying guns, according to Plascencia Villanueva, while there was no evidence that the students had any firearms. In addition to the deaths, “[t]here were arbitrary arrests, torture, cruel treatment, blows, as well as kicking, against the students,” the CNDH president said. He accused the former state attorney general, Alberto López Rosas, of “fabricating guilty parties and planting evidence.” López Rosas “then turned over two edited videos,” according to Plascencia Villanueva, “[and] lied in reporting that the [state] ministerial police arrived at the scene when the students had already died, which is false, since it has been proved that they arrived minutes before the students died.” Plascencia Villanueva called for proceedings to strip some former state officials of the immunity from prosecution they enjoy for one year after they leave office. (La Jornada, Mexico, March 28)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 1.

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