Striking teachers continued their protests in Chiapas and Guerrero today, occupying government buildings and taking a couple of police officers hostage.
Four state education office buildings were seized by CNTE union members in Tuxtla Gutiérrez this morning, following which two state police officers were detained. The union claimed they had been planted among the ranks of protesters to “destabilize and harass teachers to provoke violence” during the protest.
They were identified after an inspection of the contents of their cell phones.
In Chilpancingo, Guerrero, the State Coordinator of Guerrero Education Workers, or CETEG, set fire to an office building of the state’s Education Secretariat after ordering workers out. Windows were broken, and furniture and computer equipment destroyed.
Having set the fire, teachers retired to their camp in the city’s zócalo. Firefighters and police moved in minutes later.
Yesterday, CETEG members shut down the Chilpancingo offices of the Secretariat of Health and the Federal Electricity Commission, lighting a fire inside the latter.
Although union officials have long insisted that the federal government’s education reforms must be repealed, a spokesman for the Chiapas local Section 7 said yesterday in Mexico City that the union accepts the reform program.
However, it objects to what it calls the punitive nature of the new teacher evaluation system, which calls for the eventual dismissal of those who fail, said José Luis Escobar.
Conceding that it would be difficult to repeal a law that has been approved and promulgated, he said teachers also object to the application of standardized reforms across the country because conditions differ region by region.