In 1968 a major student movement emerged in Mexico, to the surprise of virtually everybody knowledgeable about Mexican student politics. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), in power since 1929, had not been seriously challenged while the economy continued to grow at a rate of 7 percent, one of the fastest rates of growth in the world. The principal moving force behind the movement was the moral outrage of thousands of previously uninvolved students, who responded to what they felt to be the unwarranted brutality of the riot police, and later the army, in quelling a campus disturbance, especially since the students were exercising their legal right to peaceful protest. Additional exacerbating factors were cuts in the already meager budget of the National Autonomous University, juxtaposed against large outlays for the Olympic Games, as well as the hypocrisy of a government which mouthed revolutionary slogans while brutally suppressing students and continuing its entrenched pattern of graft and corruption. The movement, after mobilizing hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, came to an abrupt halt with the slaying, jailing, and exiling of hundreds of student activists. Since 1968, the main focus of Mexican student politics has been the obtaining of the freedom of the imprisoned students.
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