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Latino Daily News

Wednesday May 16, 2012

Charges Against Mexico’s Student Protesters in Michoacan Dropped

Charges Against Mexico’s Student Protesters in Michoacan Dropped

Photo: Charges Against Mexico's Student Protesters in Michoacan Dropped

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The government of the western Mexican state of Michoacan has dropped charges against 10 Michoacan University of San Nicolas de Hidalgo, or UMSNH, students arrested April 28 after protests that resulted in the torching of two state vehicles, officials said.

Gov. Fausto Vallejo agreed to drop the charges against the students, who pledged in a written agreement to not stage any more protests in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan.

The deal calls for students to abandon the UMSNH facilities occupied since earlier this month by the Committee of Embattled University Students, or CUL.

CUL controls 13 of the 36 student hostels in Michoacan that are subsidized by the UMSNH and provide food and shelter to students, including the 10 residents of Nicolaita Students House released from jail under the agreement.

The students left the David Franco Rodriguez prison in the city of Charo, where they had been held since April 30, at 6:51 p.m. on Monday.

A court ruled six days after the students were jailed that they should face trial for the damage they caused to public property.

The 10 students were arrrested during a police operation to recover 12 state and Morelia city government vehicles that the CUL was holding at the Nicolaita and 2 de Octubre hostels.

Two of the vehicles were torched hours before the police operation was launched, leading to the arrests of 200 young people.

CUL wanted officials to provide SUVs, fuel, cash, public address systems and still and video cameras to disseminate information about UMSNH admissions in rural communities.

The student organization was seeking to recruit new residents for the hostels, which house about 5,000 young people, the majority of them from other states.

Fifteen police officers and seven students were injured in the protests and clashes, officials said.

The vast majority of those arrested were not on the student rolls of UMSNH, the university’s president, Salvador Jara, said last month.

In 2011 alone, UMSNH spent 140 million pesos ($10.8 million) to maintain 36 student hostels, where more than 5,000 people live, Jara said.