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May 31, 21

State Continues Attacks Against Normalista Students in Chiapas

By Scott Campbell

Today, May 31, in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, students from the Mactumactzá Rural Normal School took over at least 11 commercial trucks and set up a blockade to the protest the May 18 state attack against them as they were protesting against changes to the school admissions process. During that previous attack, 95 people were arrested, women were subjected to sexual assault, and many were injured by police beatings. All 95 face serious charges, with 19 still being held in the high-security El Amate prison. Joining the students in protest both today and on May 18 were displaced Indigenous Tzotzil residents from Chenalhó, forced to flee their homes due to paramilitary violence.

Around 200 Chiapas State Police attacked the blockade today, firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Students and fellow protesters were eventually pushed back onto the Mactumactzá campus, about 200 meters away. There, the police entered the campus, firing more tear gas and rubber bullets. At the time of this writing there is no information regarding arrests or injuries.

The governor of Chiapas, Rutilio Escandón, continues the nationwide pattern of deploying state violence against normalista students. Normal school students come from rural and Indigenous areas to train to become teachers and return to their communities. The schools have a socialist orientation and their students are actively involved in a wide range of social struggles. When not outright closing the schools, the state works to make their existence as difficult as possible by cutting funding, manipulating the admissions process, denying students jobs upon graduation, and frequently sending police to invade campuses.

Today’s attack was strongly condemned by the Chiapas Local 7 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE). “Trampling over their own regulations, the fascist government of Rutilio Escandón ordered the entry of repressive forces into the school, and beat students, parents, and children left and right.” Students from Mactumactzá vowed to maintain their actions, saying, “This is not going to stop, we will continue demanding their freedom.”

Militant solidarity actions occurred over the past days as well, with the Lupe de Camelina Informal Anarcha-Feminist Insurrectionist Action Group placing an explosive device at a Banjército (a bank belonging to the Mexican army) location in Mexico City, in part in solidarity with the students of Mactumactzá. In addition, in an as-yet-unclaimed action that the state is pinning on the students, an office and five vehicles belonging to the National Electoral Institute (INE) were set on fire early this morning in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

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