Thousands of striking public school teachers in Mexico have shut down Congress, blocked traffic and paralyzed the heart of Mexico City to protest a draconian “education reform” package aimed at curtailing union power and privatizing Mexico’s already ravaged public education system as the war on teachers, also waged on U.S. soil, spreads.
The nationwide uprisings are focused in the capital, home to 20 million, where thousands have shut down streets and erected a protest encampment in the city’s central plaza, reinforced by daily arrivals of busloads of protesters, mostly from nearby states of Michoacan and Oaxaca.
Teachers and their supporters in recent days surrounded the headquarters of Mexico’s main broadcasters and demanded the station allow them to air their grievances with the reform package. They have also blocked the thoroughfare to the airport for 7 hours on Friday and staged protests in front of the French, Spanish and U.S. embassies, in uprisings they have vowed to continue until a presidential speech September 1st.
“This is to defend public education!” shouted a teacher in front of the French embassy Monday as protesters faced off with riot police, the Wall Street Journal reports. “This is against oppressive neoliberal reforms!”
Members of the CNTE union, which represents a third of the country’s public school teachers, launched the protests August 19 at the start of the school year to protest the sweeping education reform law currently under debate in Mexico’s Congress. While the package, championed by President Enrique Peña Nieto, already passed in December, Congress is now debating legislation necessary to implement its provisions.
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