Mexico: local police suspected in deaths at Guerrero protest

On Jan. 12 ballistics experts and investigators from Mexico’s governmental National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) carried out a reconstruction of a confrontation last month between student protesters and police on a highway in the southwestern state of Guerrero. Two students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the nearby village of Ayotzinapa were killed on Dec. 12 when state and federal police tried to disperse some 500 protesters blocking the highway; a worker at a gas station near the road also died, in a fire reportedly caused by a Molotov cocktail thrown by a student.

Using lasers, the experts determined that the two students were killed by gunfire from an eastern location where Guerrero ministerial police (formerly known as “judicial police”) were stationed. CNDH inspector Luis García López Guerrero emphasized that the investigation hadn’t ended and that state police agents might not be the only ones responsible for the incident, in which he said 31 people were injured, one was tortured, and four suffered gunshot wounds. The inspector noted that the Federal Police (PF) were the first to use tear gas at the beginning of the confrontation. The CNDH would also “investigate and not leave in impunity the case of the gas station worker,” he promised.

On Jan. 13 the CNDH investigators visited the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college to see the conditions that set off the student protests. Afterwards Luis García López Guerrero told reporters that the situation at the under-funded school made it difficult “for the subject of education to be developed in an appropriate manner” there. (La Jornada, LJ, Jan. 14)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 15.

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