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The BBC's Peter Greste
"Until now the government has been reluctant to use the police"
 real 28k

Monday, 7 February, 2000, 04:35 GMT
Mexican police storm university

parents Students' parents demand the release of the strikers


Mexican police have stormed Latin America's largest university, arresting hundreds of striking students who had occupied the campus for over nine months.

Acting on a judge's order, unarmed federal police broke through student barricades in the early hours of Sunday and began moving into the sprawling National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) campus in the southern district of Mexico City.

Mexican television showed the police rounding up strikers, including several leaders of the action.

A total of 632 people were arrested with no reported injuries.

Talks in stalemate

The action to break the strike came after negotiations between the students and university authorities ended in a stalemate on Saturday.


students The arrested students left the university peacefully
Student leaders wanted the talks to resume on Monday, but the university refused.

The students had been demanding the release of about 250 supporters arrested during violent clashes with police last Tuesday. More than 30 people were injured in the fighting. The strike began last April over a proposal to raise tuition fees at the university.

The proposal was later withdrawn but students extended the strike, calling for sweeping reforms to the way the university was run.

Their occupation of the university grounds disrupted the classes for more than 250,000 students.

The BBC's Peter Greste in Mexico City said the strike had become one of the Mexican government's most intransigent headaches.

But, he said, public support for the strike had been dwindling recently.

Government blamed

After last Tuesday's disturbances, relatives of those arrested joined strikers inside the university to call for their release.

They accused the government of provoking the trouble.

Interior Minister Diodoro Carrasco responded by saying that the university authorities had requested help from the federal police after striking students attacked university staff and non-striking students.

It was the first time that police had taken direct action in the conflict since students first went on strike.

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03 Feb 00 |  Americas
Striking students riot in Mexico

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