Teachers' tents are back in the Oaxaca city zócalo. Teachers' tents are back in the Oaxaca city zócalo.

CNTE teachers break a long silence, resume Oaxaca protests

Airport, highways blocked, toll booth occupied

After a long silence, members of the CNTE teachers’ union in Oaxaca are on the march once again.

The militant union has begun protests and blockades to demand the recognition of indigenous education and guaranteed teaching positions for graduates of teacher training schools.

The protests began on Tuesday when the CNTE called a strike and set up tents in the Oaxaca city zócalo.

On Thursday, they used hijacked public buses and delivery trucks to block the entrance to the Oaxaca International Airport, forcing passengers to walk 1.4 kilometers to get to and from the terminal.

Blockades also affected traffic headed south to the coastal destinations of Puerto Escondido and Huatulco.

Teachers also occupied the San Pablo Huitzo toll booth — a favorite target of protesting teachers for many years — on the highway to Mexico City, where they raised the barrier and collected “voluntary donations” from motorists in order to be allowed to pass.

The CNTE teachers’ union has been quiet in Oaxaca since the new education reform was declared constitutional by Congress in May of last year.

Although representatives of the state Public Education Institute and the federal Secretariat of Public Education met with the teachers, they refused to call off the strike. They also occupied government offices and closed the state Congress.

They have threatened to take their protest to the National Palace in Mexico City if their demands are not met.

Sources: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

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