12/16/11–On December 12, two students from the “Normal Raúl Isidro Burgos” school were killed during a student protest that blocked the El Sol highway in Chilpancingo, Guerrero (see picture at right). Both students were allegedly shot head on by police officers dressed in civilian clothing. A third victim, who had suffered severe injuries during the protest, passed away on December 14 from third degree burns. In the days following the Normalista protest, six police officers accused of involvement in the students deaths have been detained, one of whom is a member of the Special Forces of State Preventative Police. Family members of the detained feel they are being treated unjustly as they are being investigated for homicide. Authorities have suggested that the first two students killed were armed and that the behaviour exhibited on December 12 was irregular for the students of that school.
Among other demands, students had been protesting conditions in the Normal school, calling for the selection of a new school director, lessened entrance scores, and better food in the cafeteria. Some reports have speculated that other civic groups were involved in the protest.
On December 16, which was four days after the shooting and two days after the third victim passed away, over 500,000 protestors demonstrated in front of key government buildings demanding justice. Among the half-million protestors were a number of Normalista students who represented a variety of states throughout the country, including students from Michoacan, Aguascalientes, Sonora, Durango, Zacatecas, Oaxaca, Morelos, Puebla, and Chihuahua.
Univision has reported that local prosecutors from the state of Guerrero have not followed proper protocol in their investigations into the deaths of the students, disregarding certain steps required by the Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República). Investigations are on-going.