Today is Teacher’s Day in Mexico but it’s not a day for celebration, according to Pedro Hernández Morales, national leader of the dissident CNTE union. It is a day “for protest.”
And protest they did, with marches in at least nine cities to demand the restart of talks over the long-hated education reforms with the federal government.
Public security authorities in the nation’s capital estimated that 4,000 people arrived aboard more than 40 buses for the march, traveling from Michoacán, Guerrero, Chiapas and Oaxaca to protest with their Mexico City counterparts.
The yearly march marks a renewal of the CNTE’s protests, whose purpose is to call for the repeal of the 2013 education reforms and the reinstatement of teachers fired after they refused to be evaluated or after missing classes and going on strike.
In the state of Oaxaca, CNTE local Section 22 began the first phase of its demonstrations by marching on the streets of the capital and mounting several roadblocks.
Although it was a day off for most public and private school teachers and students, the union launched an “indefinite” strike, which will leave more than one million students without classes in the state’s 13,500 public schools.
According to Section 22 spokesman Wilbert Santiago Valdivieso, the “days of struggle are imminent,” and there are still many issues pending with the state and federal governments.
He added that the CNTE state assembly had only agreed so far upon a minimal action plan, but during a second phase, yet to be discussed, actions could escalate to blocking the entrances to government buildings, shopping centers and airports, and setting up as many as 37 roadblocks, all of which are tried and true practices for the union.
This is the third strike organized by the union so far this month, but education authorities have yet to sanction teachers or dock their pay for days missed.