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Brutal attack on student protestors in Michoacan

by Building Bridges Human Rights Project in Mexico

Also posted by Maryann Abbs:

Brutal attack on student protestors in Michoacan


On October 15, 2012, at least 176 people were detained after protesting students from were evicted from normal schools in Cheran, Arteaga, Tiripetio, Michoacan. Students had been occupying 8 schools in Michoacan since September 10, 2012 to protest the government's curriculum reform bill.


At the school in Cheran, more than 800 federal police were deployed. Tear gas, batons, and attack dogs were used against the students, and a number of protestors were assaulted.


After the attack, teachers, students, and other allies blocked highways in Michoacan and, at least 2000 students marched to the office of the Attorney General to demand liberation of those arrested. This attack on normal school students (normalistas) in Michocan occurs in the general context of repression of education defenders, including the assassination of 2 normalistas from a school in Ayotzinapa last December. Normalistas are studying to become teachers in rural areas of Mexico.


Rural normal schools were first established in 1922 as a post-revolutionary education reform to provide teacher training and ensure education in the most impoverished communities in Mexico. Normalistas provide education that seeks to awake popular consciousness, is driven by the needs of the students, not on a standardized curriculum.


The Federal government's proposed curriculum reform law is an attack on free public education, and would also require incorporation of subjects such as English into the curriculum, a low priority in many rural communities, and seen as a way to further marginalize indigenous languages. Schools must also incorporate computer science, even though some of the communities with rural schools do not have electricity. And, there is an attempt to eliminate distance learning programs for rural high school students which would leave 16, 000 students without any access to education.


Although some students have been released, a number still remain in custody, and there are concerns that others have been disappeared.


Groups across Mexico have risen to respond to this attack on public education. Solidarity actions and blockades have taken place in Oaxaca, Atenco, and Mexico City. On October 17, 10, 000 people marched through Morelia, the capital of Michoacan.


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