The Mexican government’s battle against striking teachers from the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación [CNTE] heated up again Wednesday when armed thugs from state-backed paramilitaries joined in a police action against one of the roadblocks that have become the most powerful weapon of the action against neoliberal education “reforms.”
The assault came in the state of Chiapoas, and fatalities have been reported.
Meanwhile, strikers in another state, Michoacan, have taken the blockade action to the rails.
From teleSUR English:
Mexican State and municipal police accompanied by paramilitaries and hooded individuals with guns forcefully evacuated the only camp that civil society and teachers of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, CNTE, held in the state of Chiapas, Wednesday.
In a statement the CNTE said that 10 trucks loaded with a group of masked men came to the camp at highway San Cristóbal-Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas where about a hundred protesters were gathering before dispersing them with force. The CNTE was on high alert and reinstated its blockade soon after, according to student activist Omar Garcia.
There were reports that between one and two teachers were killed in the clashes and that two were detained. Videos circulating on social media website showed the masked men took part in cracking down on the protesting teachers, apparently with police permission. The news comes about a month after the Nochixtlan massacre claimed 12 lives in the state of Oaxaca.
Leaders of the CNTE have been protesting over the past few months against the neoliberal education reforms implemented in 2013 by President Enrique Peña Nieto
Railroads blockaded in Michoacan
Elsewhere, striking teachers have extended their blockades to railroads, reports Fox News Latino:
Hundreds of striking teachers and their supporters effectively shut down the freight rail network in the western Mexican state of Michoacan on Wednesday.
Members of the militant CNTE union launched the protest around 8:30 a.m., blocking tracks with boulders, tree-trunks and even vehicles.
The blockades prevented the transport of thousands of freight containers from the Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas, rail operator Kansas City Southern de Mexico said.
The state government urged the teachers to end the blockades and did not rule out the use of riot police to clear the rail lines by force.
Most of Michoacan’s 19,500 primary schools have been shut down since May 16 due to the CNTE strike, which is also having a major impact in several other states, including Oaxaca and Chiapas, where teachers and their allies have blocked highways.