Police Break Up Student Demonstration, Recapture City Buses
CHIHUAHUA, Mexico (AP) _ Police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators outside the Autonomous University of Chihuahua, where the rector’s office remained occupied by about 3,000 students demanding his resignation.
The riot squads were ordered in Wednesday night by Gov. Oscar Ornelas, who according to the students, had promised not to use force.
The students have promised to continue the demonstrations until Reyes Humberto de las Casas Duarte, top official of the 6,000-student university, agrees to resign. Police did not dislodge the students from his office.
Complaints about de las Casas began in June when the rector finished his first term in office and elected himself to a second term.
Ornelas has said he agrees with the students’ complaints about de las Casas’ self-appointment.
However, the university’s autonomous status bars government interference in the school’s operation.
About 50,000 signatures have been collected on petitions demanding de las Casas’ ouster.
Ornelas met separately Wednesday with de las Casas, faculty members and student organizers in an attempt to reach a solution.
State and city police also recovered 60 public buses seized Monday by the students, who had used 15 of the vehicles to block main thoroughfares in this northern Mexican city for a second time.
Two student leaders, Pablo Alvidrez and Alfredo de la Torre, said they broke off the talks after the governor said the buses would have to be returned before a settlement could be negotiated.
Transportation was halted in much of the city after the buses were seized, and businesses complained of huge losses in sales and employee absenteeism.
De las Casas’ whereabouts were uncertain today. Telephone calls to his office were unanswered.
Officers reportedly chased some students through city streets. Students reported 12 injuries in their ranks, but the Federal Judicial Police said the injuries were minor.