State Coordinator of Educators mobilize in Guerrero to protest police misconduct

Friends and family attend services for Professor Claudio Castillo Peña in Acapulco, Guerrero. Photo: Cuartoscuro.

Friends and family attend services for Professor Claudio Castillo Peña in Acapulco, Guerrero. Photo: Cuartoscuro.

03/05/15 — Members of the State Coordinator of Educators (Coordinadora Estatal de Trabajadores de la Educación, CETEG) are coordinating a mass march to take place on March 11, 2015, in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. In a press conference, CETEG leader Manuel Salvador Rosas said that the upcoming march would be a protest against a controversial incident involving police and alleged human rights violations. Specifically, Salvador Rosas pointed to the death of a fellow retired professor during a clash between police and protesters, the alleged sexual abuse of teachers at the hands of the Federal Police (Policía Federal, PF) that followed, and a local police force’s involvement in the disappearance of the 43-normalista students.

The incident that sparked CETEG’s efforts to mobilize was indeed another protest that happened just weeks before when thousands of teachers in Guerrero blocked a major highway that runs between Acapulco and Mexico City. On February 24, the teachers took to the streets to impede the passing of the ATP World Tennis Tour (Torneo Abierto Mexicano de Tenis) in an effort to raise awareness about and demand fair pay for 2,000 professors. The protest turned violent after State and Federal Police got involved—confrontations during which retired Professor Claudio Castillo Peña (65) was allegedly killed as a result of a physical altercation and alleged abuse by police. In an interview with Radio Fórmula about the incident involving Castillo Peña, Salvador Rosas confirmed, “We have videos and photos.”

However, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said that the professor’s death did not occur as a result of a traumatic brain injury, as alleged by CETEG. According to an autopsy by the Attorney General of Guerrero (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado, PGJE), he instead died from an “intense flattening of the thorax.” Rubido further concluded that his death “was not the result of the confrontation between protesters and members of the Federal Police. Quite possibly the death was due to a different event.” Castillo Peña passed away in the hospital the day after the protest.

Besides Castillo Peña’s death, four other teachers have come forward stating that Federal Police raped them and 12 other teachers have gone missing as a result of the protest that occurred on February 24. The four women allege the police took them by car away from the protest, and then sexually abused them, leaving one hospitalized for several days. Meanwhile, 12 teachers were also disappeared during the protest, and have still yet to be found.

The February 24 protest is reminiscent of the September 26, 2014, protest in nearby Iguala, Guerrero, where 43 students disappeared when local police clashed with protesting students. With only one body of the 43 disappeared discovered to-date, family, friends, and human rights activists continue to demand answers, transparency, and accountability from the government and the police involved.

Sources:

Redacción. “Al maestro sí lo mató la Policía Federal; cuatro profesoras fueron violadas, denuncia la Ceteg.” Proceso. February 26, 2015.

Redacción. “México: controversia por la muerte de un profesor en Acapulco.” BBC Mundo. February 26, 2015.

Redacción. “CETEG Anuncia Movilizaciones en todo Guerrero.” El Universal. March 2, 2015.

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