Advertisement

A student from Mexican teachers' college where 43 disappeared dies in a confrontation with police

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A student from a rural Mexican teachers’ college where 43 youths disappeared in 2014 has died in a confrontation with police, officials said Friday.

Prosecutors in the southern state of Guerrero said the confrontation occurred late Thursday on a roadway near the Ayotzinapa teachers' college.

Sources at the college said the dead student, and another who was wounded, were attacked by police.

But state police said the students were armed and opened fire on officers after police tried to pull over the vehicle they were riding in because it was reported stolen. Prosecutors said drugs and a gun were found in the vehicle.

Federal officials said five buses and trucks apparently came from the teachers' college to protest after the confrontation, and the occupants set two state police patrol vehicles afire. Several of those protesters were arrested.

The under-funded radical rural teachers’ colleges in Mexico have a decades-long tradition of violent protests and clashing with police.

When the 43 male students from the Ayotzinapa school were abducted in 2014, they had been hijacking passenger buses which they were going to use to travel to a protest.

This week's death comes two days after protesters supporting the missing students' families used a commandeered pickup truck to ram down the wooden doors of Mexico City’s National Palace, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador lives and holds his daily press briefings.

The protesters battered down the doors and entered the colonial-era palace before they were driven off by security agents.

Tension has been stewing for months between López Obrador and the victims' families, who accuse him of not doing enough to investigate the fate of their sons. López Obrador called the Wednesday protest a provocation, and claimed the demonstrators had sledgehammers and blowtorches.

“This is a movement against us,” López Obrador said. “The plan is to create a provocation.”

The abduction and murder of the 43 students a decade ago remains one of Mexico’s most infamous human rights cases.

With López Obrador’s term ending next year, family members face the prospect of a tenth year of not knowing what happened to their sons, and fear that the next administration will start the error-plagued investigation over from scratch yet again.

After an initial coverup, last year a government truth commission concluded that local, state and federal authorities colluded with a local drug gang to murder the students in what it called a “state crime.”