Striking teachers in Zacatecas took over government offices in the state capital on Wednesday one day after 5,000 members of the SNTE teachers union protested there.
The newspaper Sol de Zacatecas reported Wednesday morning that members of the SNTE took over government offices in the Zacatecas city Palace of Government building and took control of the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance and Education there. The newspaper also reported that teachers around the state had taken control of tax collection offices in several municipalities. On Wednesday afternoon, the state Finance Ministry announced on Twitter that only 19 of 58 remained open to the public.
The striking teachers are demanding a missing fortnightly salary payment for the second half of January and the payment of a bonus. One of the leaders of the protest, Óscar Castruita, the director of SNTE’s Section 58, said the money had been sent by federal authorities but then disappeared.
“Eight days have passed, and the second half of January has not been paid,” he said. “The unfortunate thing for everyone is that the single national compensation bonus has not been paid either. Where are the resources that the Treasury sent through the SEP [Education Ministry] to pay the bonus?”
Zacatecas Governor David Monreal said the state was in an economic crisis. He blamed his predecessors for not putting salaries under the direct responsibility of federal authorities and said the government hadn’t sent Zacatecas officials 500 million pesos (US $24 million) to cover the state’s debts.
The state is also facing an security crisis: at least 18 homicides were recorded there on Saturday, the highest daily count for murders for any state so far this year.
However, Zacatecas isn’t the only state where educators are dissenting. In Michoacán, members of the CNTE teachers union tried to block train tracks near Uruapan on February 1. They plan to march again in that city on Thursday.
Teachers have also been protesting in Hidalgo since January and are demanding 196 million pesos (US $9.6 million) in bonuses. They blocked streets and highways in Pachuca on February 3.
In Guerrero, students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college — the school attended by the 43 young men who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014 — attacked National Guardsmen with a semi-trailer at a toll booth on February 4.
In reaction to the Guerrero protests, President López Obrador called for non-violent demonstrations. “You have to fight for ideals, not for destruction. There should be no rebel without a cause,” he said at his Monday morning press conference.