Local media reported that some 5,000 unionized teachers demanding higher wages blocked access routes to Acapulco’s international airport for several hours on Tuesday. The Guerrero Interior Ministry office claims that when federal police gave the order to disband their blockade, the protesters “attacked the officers with a bus they had used to get there.”
The violent clash between protesters and policemen left over 100 arrested and one dead: Claudio Castillo Peña, a 62-year-old retired teacher with a poliomyelitis condition, who died from an acute traumatic head injury. The government claims Castillo was run down by the bus, but the Guerrero Teachers Union (CETEG) blames the federal police’s excessive use of force.
Manuel Rosas, a member of the CETEG, told Radio Fórmula on Thursday that 12 teachers from the union have not been seen since the clash with police. “Now, it is more than just 43 disappeared from Iguala. Since the police attacked us on Tuesday, 12 of our colleagues are missing. They’re not at home, and they’re not under arrest.”
Rosas also claims federal police officers sexually abused four of his female colleagues following their crackdown on Tuesday. He says police took the women away in vans and disappeared into dark alleys.
Enrique Galindo, the federal police commissioner in Guerrero, issued a statement on Thursday claiming protesters used their bus as a weapon and injured police officers, as well as civilian women and children. He also said his department will be investigating the allegation that the protesters ran over Castillo with their bus.
Police claim they have released most of the detained protesters, but are still holding eight teachers who the persecutor’s office plans to charge.
February 26 marked five months since the forced disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, which human-rights activists commemorated this week with protests in Mexico City and across the country.