Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Persistent teachers resume blockades of railway tracks in Michoacán

Police stepped in to clear protesting teachers from a railway blockade in Michoacán last week, but it didn’t take long for the protest to resume.

Teachers and teachers in training erected blockades in at least seven municipalities on Friday.

In the last two weeks, teachers have closed sections of line in the state on five occasions. The blockades were lifted on Tuesday after state police made a show of force in Maravatío. Teachers, who are members of the dissident CNTE union, said police threatened to remove them by force if they did not clear the tracks.

On Wednesday, CNTE members and police in riot gear clashed as protesters in Caltzontzin attempted to take over the tracks once again, with the teachers lobbing fireworks at police who responded with tear gas. Two police officers were injured in the skirmish.

Teachers and teaching students, known as normalistas, are demanding the payment of bonuses and scholarships and the automatic allocation of jobs to more than 2,000 recent graduates, among other demands.

“We understand what they are asking for, but it is an issue outside the railroad. There may be reasons to protest, some are valid, but in the strict sense, there should be no impact on third parties,” said Óscar del Cueto, president of the Mexican Association of Railways.

Blockades on the tracks have interrupted the transport of goods to and from the center of the country, which is causing economic losses estimated at 50 million pesos (US $2.24 million) per day. Michoacán Industry Association (AIEMAC) president Carlos Alberto Enríquez Barajas says that regardless of whether the teachers’ demands are legitimate, “this can no longer be the way to function in Michoacán.”

The protesters, who also took over two toll plazas in Michoacán yesterday, say their activities will intensify until the federal and local governments meet their demands. In 2019 normalistas blocked the railway tracks in Michoacan for a total of 62 days. 

Source: Milenio (sp)

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