Mexico teachers union threatens ‘greater intensity’ in protests over education reforms

MEXICO CITY, June 30 (UPI) — Mexico’s National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, teachers union has threatened actions of “greater intensity” as it remains deadlocked with the government over constitutional education reforms.

The union has held protests over constitutional reforms passed by Mexico’s Ministry of Education in 2013 that would force teachers to take examinations to be approved for employment, with further tests to maintain jobs. The intensity of the demonstrations — which have been ongoing since 2013 — have escalated to the teachers union setting up blockades that have created shortages of fuel.

Jose Luis Escobar, a CNTE spokesman, on Wednesday said President Enrique Peña Nieto‘s government must revoke or revise the law, but Peña Nieto’s administration has insisted the law is non-negotiable.

“They hold the only solution,” Escobar said, adding that though shortages have been created that Mexicans “have understood that this form of struggle is necessary in the face of the stubbornness and myopia of the government.”

Escobar added that the CNTE will continue to block roads, also warning of “actions of greater intensity.” The CNTE has most of its support in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, where the blockades and shortages are most intense. At least 100 gas stations in Chiapas are out of fuel.

In Oaxaca, at least 10 people died when riot police attempted to disperse blockading protesters. In Mexico City, tens of thousands of people protested in Sunday over the recent violent clashes between police and a teachers union.

Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, Mexico’s secretary of interior, on Wednesday said the government will not hold talks with the CNTE until the union stops the blockades.

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