An election protest today in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. An election protest today in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

Rally turns violent after teacher protest

PRI candidate ventures into Oaxaca, stronghold of dissident teachers' union

There was election violence in the state of Oaxaca today when a protest by the teachers’ union turned into a confrontation with supporters of presidential candidate José Antonio Meade.

At least 200 members of Section 22, the Oaxaca local of the CNTE union, were demonstrating against the candidate’s arrival for a rally in the coastal city of Puerto Escondido.

According to several media reports, teachers and others began shouting abuse at supporters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) near a plaza at the city’s local government offices, where Meade was holding a meeting.

The verbal abuse soon turned into a brawl that lasted for about 10 minutes as people on both sides began throwing rocks, barricades and chairs. At least 10 people were injured and several vehicles parked nearby were damaged.

A press conference scheduled to follow the rally was canceled, and Meade left accompanied by bodyguards.

The candidate for a PRI-led coalition called Everyone for Mexico in the July 1 election condemned the teachers’ actions in a post on Twitter.

“I strongly condemn the acts of intolerance and aggression committed by members of the CNTE in Oaxaca. Not content to torpedo the quality of education of our children, they choose violence to express themselves. Remember, they are allies of [rival presidential candidate Andrés Manuel] López Obrador.”

The dissident CNTE union, a bitter opponent of the 2013 education reforms, is currently escalating its annual protest campaign in Oaxaca by blocking highways and access to airports, chain-owned stores and government offices.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), NVI Noticias (sp)

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