Mexican Normalist Students Attack National Guard with Trailer Truck
By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
A group of about 300 students from Mexico’s Ayotzinapa Normal College, in the coastal state of Guerrero, launched a trailer truck with no brakes at members of the National Guard (GN) on Saturday, Feb. 5, after the GN prevented them from taking control of a toll booth along the Autopista del Sol Mexico City-Acapulco highway.
The so-called normalists — who are part of a rural education program aimed at low-income students who want to become teachers — have for months taken over the Palo Blanco toll booth each weekend to extort money from motorists.
But on Saturday, the National Guard and Guerrero state police tried to remove the normalists as they pushed their way into the booths.
The students responded by aiming a hijacked truck with the accelerator forced down with stones in the direction of the National Guard officers.
Immediately prior, the GN launched tear gas cans at the normalists after the students had thrown Molotov cocktails and stones at them.
The trailer crashed into a tourist information module.
According to Guerrero state authorities, 22 officers were wounded, including 14 members of the National Guard and eight state police.
The normalists reported five of their classmates as injured.
Five students were detained by authorities.
In many areas of rural Mexico, normalist college students have for years taken to the streets and hijacked buses and toll booths in often violent protests against any changes to Mexico’s current public education system.
Encouraged by their professors, the students have consistently protested the teaching of English and computer skills to rural children.
They have also demonstrated against the strengthening of teacher evaluations, changes to labor laws and the elimination of the practice of allowing teachers to sell their jobs to the highest bidder.
In 2014, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School disappeared after a confrontation with government forces.
The case is still unsolved, and the parents of the students hold frequent protests demanding answers from the government.
The government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has promised to reopen investigations on the disappeared students, but has not followed through.
Mexican students score among the lowest in the standardized tests supervised by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.