Student demos turn violent in Mexico, 200 arrested

The Chicago Tribune / Reuters, 4/29/12

Students demanding access to university hostels set fire to two police cars in street protests in the Mexican city of Morelia on Saturday that led to 200 arrests, local media reported on Sunday.

Masked men sprayed a police pick-up with gasoline and then set it ablaze with molotov cocktails on one of the busiest streets of Morelia, television images showed. The protesters, mainly young men, were demanding local government funding to maintain access to student hostels from which they had were evicted by police. Some students set fire to mattresses in one of the hostels to avoid arrest, television images showed. The building caught fire and firemen were called in to put out the blaze.

Morelia, a colonial city, is the capital of Michoacan, the home state of President Felipe Calderon. Michoacan Governor Fausto Vallejo said police acted within the law evicting students from three hostels early on Saturday. “In Michoacan we have laws that have to be obeyed. Let’s not confuse social struggle with illegal acts,” Vallejo said on his Twitter account. He said 198 people were arrested and seven were hurt.

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