Teachers affiliated with the dissident CNTE union as well as aspiring teachers have been on the march again, in part because they were given new fodder to protest with the introduction this week of a new education model.
In Chiapas, professors in Section 40 were joined by students, parents, members of non-governmental organizations, unionized health workers and civil organizations in a march yesterday through the streets of the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, that concluded in the zócalo.
The main reason for the march was to protest the sweeping structural reforms introduced early in the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Among them were education reforms that “threaten the rights of education workers, of public schools and of the children and youths of the country,” protesters said.
One product of the reforms is the new education model, which was also a target of the protest, as was energy reform. Disgruntled teachers claimed they have only succeeded to further impoverish Mexican citizens with the increase in fuel prices, “because this regime is selling out our strategic natural and power-generation resources to foreign investors.”
The march concluded with a rally across from the state government building where some of the protesters torched a vehicle.
In Michoacán, Section 18 protesters demanded the payment of delayed bonuses and the completion of the necessary procedures for teachers who are in the process of retiring.
The local CNTE leadership met with officials from the state education secretariat, agreeing to set up a working table to discuss the teachers’ demands, which were delivered to the government in May last year.
In Oaxaca, the protests were carried out by students from the state’s teacher training colleges, whose main demand is the benefit of automatic job placement once their studies are finished. It is a privilege that new teachers once enjoyed, but was withdrawn by the reforms.
On Thursday, the normalistas, or normal school students, set up several blockades by using at least 14 public transit buses that were hijacked and parked in the entrances of shopping centers and stores including Soriana, Fábricas de Francia, Coppel and 30 others.
Another group of students took over the San Pablo Huitzo toll booth, where the Oaxaca-Mexico City highway begins, allowing vehicles through in exchange for a “contribution” of between 30 and 200 pesos, depending on the size of the vehicle.
A third contingent of teachers-in-training cordoned off the premises of the state public school institute, IEEPO.
The administration of Governor Alejandro Murat Hinojosa said it was attempting to begin dialogue with the normalistas in order to offer a response to their demands.
Only the Chiapas CNTE local had reported protests for today, including blocking the main entrances to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, gas stations and media offices.