Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Striking teachers march in capital, causing traffic chaos

Teachers are now on strike in four states and many are marching today in Mexico City, creating traffic chaos in several locations.

The week-long teachers’ strike in Oaxaca has spread to Guerrero, Michoacán and Chiapas and will continue indefinitely to press for negotiations with the federal government to terminate the 2013 education reforms.

The dissident CNTE union anticipated that 12,000 teachers would arrive in Mexico City today where it has threatened to set up a camp in the streets around La Ciudadela park in the borough of Cuauhtémoc. The CNTE set up a camp there in 2016 and remained for three months.

The teachers had planned three marches for today in the capital, all of which will converge in front of the building housing the Secretariat of the Interior. Chaotic traffic conditions were being reported in various parts of the city.

Among the teachers’ demands is the reinstatement of close to 600 of their number who were laid off when they refused to write evaluation tests. Teachers in Oaxaca have additional demands.

Wilbert Santiago Valdivieso of Oaxaca local Section 22 said that one is the release of the union’s bank accounts, which were frozen in 2015 and contained about 136 million pesos (US $8.6 million at the time).

The CNTE said 47 busloads of teachers left Oaxaca yesterday and were expected in the capital early this morning, along with others from Chiapas, Guerrero and Michoacán. But the Oaxaca caravan has been slowed by police action.

It was first halted by police last night in the city of Puebla and again early this morning in Mexico City, triggering accusations by the union that the federal government was determined to prevent the teachers’ demonstrations and strike action.

“Watch out, comrades! Total repudiation of the criminalization of protest!” Santiago said this morning on Twitter.

In Chiapas, a union spokesman said 20,000 schools were closed today by striking teachers while in Oaxaca last week’s blockades continued. Access to both the airport and the central bus station was blocked this morning.

The federal Education Secretariat warned today it would dock the pay of teachers who missed classes.

Source: El Universal (sp), El País (sp), El Sol de México (sp)

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