50 years after student massacre, Mexico students strike

September 5, 2018
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Thousands of students at Mexico's National Autonomous University protest to demand an end to violence by groups of thugs known as "porros," who are often registered but don't attend classes, at the University's main campus in Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Students at Mexico's largest university have gone on strike after a campus attack against protestors on Monday, in which two students were seriously injured. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Students at Mexico’s largest university went on strike Wednesday and thousands marched to protest a campus attack against protesters in which two students were seriously injured.

Students at Mexico’s National Autonomous University in Mexico City were demanding an end to violence by groups of thugs who are often registered but don’t attend classes.

Some of those thugs beat up protesters from a university-affiliated high school who were demonstrating Monday against fees and for free speech. The attack included the use of gasoline bombs, rocks, sticks and knives.

The university has announced that 18 of the alleged attackers have been expelled. University Rector Enrique Graue said the attack was staged by people “who represent outside interests that evidently want to destabilize the university.” He did not specify who he was referring to.

The university’s various campuses have about 350,000 students, 115,000 of those at the equivalent of high school level.

The march comes on the 50th anniversary of a student pro-democracy movement truncated by the massacre of students by troops on Oct. 2, 1968, which became a rallying cry for decades of anti-government activists.

The movement partly died down after troops fired on protesters at the capital’s Tlatelolco Plaza. The government said 25 died in the shooting, though independent estimates topped 300. Students were again attacked by thugs wielding clubs during a march in 1971, and social media users posted pictures of that march and the Monday attack to stress the similarities.

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