A Real Citizen's Review Board

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 20 - It was not a sight Mexicans see every day, the 60 riot policemen, stripped of their clubs, shields and a good part of their clothes, bound together with the ropes they normally use to bind criminals, down on their knees and shivering in the chill air of a public square.

That panorama of humiliation of the forces of order was on view when enraged townspeople in a Mexican village rose up against police who conducted an early morning raid to end a student strike at a local college.

The village revolt against the state troopers, some of whom were left with nothing but their undershorts, was mainly an explosion of the resentment people around the country feel toward police officers, who are regarded as venal, violent and overbearing.

In January, students demanding financing for 200 new places to increase enrollment occupied the college and ousted the director and half the faculty. State authorities decided to evict the strikers from the college. But several hundred incensed villagers carrying clubs, machetes and not a few pistols surrounded the school and subdued 60 policemen still inside, forcing them to remove their shirts, shoes and in some cases their pants.

The villagers tied ropes around the police officers and paraded them, with their hands on their heads, through the streets to the central square, where they forced the officers to drop to their knees and then lie face down on the pavement. After a nippy evening the villagers finally released them when the majority of the strikers were freed by state authorities.

- Julia Preston, New York Times



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