In Mexico, eight students from the now-infamous teacher training school in Ayotzinapa, where 43 students were disappeared in 2014, remain hospitalized after they suffered police brutality Wednesday: four are in critical condition.
According to the students’ lawyer, Vidulfo Rosales, two people have fractured bones in their the arms, and another in the face. Juan Castro Rodriguez was left in the most serious condition, with a “grade one” head injury.
Rosales, a human rights attorney, demanded that the students be moved from the Raymundo Abarca Alarcon hospital to private facilities, paid for by the Guerrero state government, as he said a bed shortage meant the students were kept standing while waiting for medical attention and did not receive adequate care.
Mexican authorities told local media outlets on Thursday that police attacked the students with tear gas and batons after the students had allegedly hijacked a tanker truck carrying 30,000 liters of gasoline. Rosales told Imagen Radio that the students were attacked as they were traveling to Mexico City in order to participate in a protest scheduled to take place later this month.
The Ayotzinapa students go to one of Mexico’s few remaining revolutionary colleges that teach those from rural backgrounds skills and methods to stay in the countryside and educate campesino communities, which urban schools have traditionally failed. The schools have been maligned by governments as a hotbed of radicalism; the students live and work at the school, are politically active, and believe the government is reducing their funding.
Thursday morning, the wounded students’ classmates organized a demonstration to reject the attack and blame the governor of Guerrero, Hector Astudillo, for allegedly ordering the violent actions against the youths. Student representatives denounced what they described as the “excessive use of force” by Mexican officials against them.
Students who witnessed the events said the police action was a direct attack on the protest, not a confrontation with law enforcement as per the official version.
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Astudillo responded in a radio interview, claiming his administration is prepared to help the students:
"We can not continue watching Guerrero destroy itself. If you need buses, we will see how we can get them; if you need gas, we will see how we can pay for it.”
The Ayotzinapa students believe their ongoing protests for their classmates who were attacked and disappeared in September last year—a situation that has drawn international attention to the problems of state corruption and impunity for human rights abuses in Mexico—is causing authorities to intensify their campaign against the school.
Violent crime has continued to increase in Guerrero since the Ayotzinapa disappearances. In October, the Mexican government outlined a new security plan for the state of Guerrero, which will include the deployment of 1,500 additional military forces.
According to recent figures released by the Mexican government, Guerrero ranked as the state with the second highest number of murders from January–August 2015.
WATCH: Mexico: Police Attack Ayotzinapa Students, 13 Arrested then Released