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Teachers violently removed from Mexico City Zócalo attract mass support
by El Enemigo Común ( solidarity [at] elenemigocomun.net )
Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM
Schoolteachers demanding worker rights and free public education for everyone were violently removed from the Mexico City Zócalo on September 13 and are now regrouping.

On September 13th, 2013 teachers of the CNTE (National Commission of Education Workers) who have been on a nationwide strike against the privatization of education for nearly two months, were violently evicted from the protest encampment at the nation’s capitol. The teachers have regrouped at a new location and plan to take back their original encampment on the 18th.

13SMX - Desalojo de la CNTE del Zocalo del DF
http://youtu.be/R1RPdfzzBmY

x carolina

After almost a month of maintaining an expanded encampment in the central plaza of Mexico City, holding daily marches, rallies, blockades, and other actions in defense of worker rights and free, public education, the schoolteachers belonging to the National Education Workers Coordinating Group (CNTE) were moved out with extreme violence by federal police in an operation that began a little after 4 o’clock in the afternoon last Friday, September 13. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera had both decided that the teachers would be a disturbance for their September 15-16 festivities when the Cry of Independence is traditionally given in the Zócalo.

In the face of a heavy deployment of 3,600 militarized police and continuous low flights of Blackhawk helicopters overhead, talks were held with the CNTE leadership in which the federal Secretary of State Miguel Osorio Chong, through his Mexico City counterpart Héctor Serrano, gave two ultimatums for the entry of the police: the first at 2 pm and the second at 4 pm.

The majority of the teachers began to leave the plaza that morning, but several groups of Oaxaca’s Section 22 teachers stayed to put up resistance. A little after 4 o’ clock, thousands of federal riot cops under the command of Manuel Mondragón y Kalb, charged into the Zócalo, backed by tanks shooting torrents of water and teargas. They came from Moneda, Guatemala and 5 de Mayo streets to the north of the Zócalo, forcing people to pull back towards the south to 5 de Febrero, 20 de Noviembre and Pino Suárez.

Dozens of teachers and supporters had already put up barricades on these streets and met the police with a hail of rocks, sticks, and other flying objects. Confrontations took place at Izazaga Street, as well as Arcos de Belén, Eje Central, Ayuntamiento, 16 de Septiembre and others.

The repression included encirclements and beatings that resulted in dozens of people wounded and, according to the Cerezo Committee, 31 arrests. All have now gotten out on bail. Nevertheless, there are still dozens of people unaccounted for since September 13, and it’s not yet known whether they simply haven’t reported in or if they’ve been disappeared.

On the 13th, there were teacher marches and actions in a number of other cities, and the support was especially strong in Veracruz and Oaxaca, where the Zócalo was occupied by the FUL-APPO. In Xalapa, Veracruz there was heavy repression and several arrests were made.

As a result of the violent repression in Mexico City, the teachers lost most of the few belongings that they had with them, and are now camped out at the Monument to the Revolution in harsh conditions. There is a call for people to bring them sheets of canvas or plastic, blankets, medicines and other supplies.

The CNTE is now getting reorganized and a number of solidarity actions have been held in their support. A huge march was held on September 15, and more than 100,000 people gathered at the Monument to the Revolution to give the Cry for Independence, more than twice the scant number attending the official festivities.

Several actions are planned for this week, including a march to take back the Zócalo on Wednesday September 18, and work stoppages at the end of the week. There are student strikes at several universities, where centers have been set up to gather supplies for the teachers.
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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM

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by El Enemigo Común Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:23 AM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Andrew Iverson
Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 4:24 PM
This article is a gross misrepresentation of what is happening here in Mexico City. Education is definitely NOT being privatized in Mexico. In fact, the teachers are protesting against educational reform, such as removing the right to pass on guaranteed teaching positions to one's children and the requiring of basic levels of knowledge among teachers. The educational system here is abysmal, not least because of the poor standards among teachers. Teachers in Mexico are, unfortunately, rather poorly paid compared to their peers in wealthy countries, but they do benefit from a number of perks that teachers in the developed world could only dream of, including access to preferred rates for buying houses and cars. Furthermore, a middle-income country like Mexico cannot compete in terms of wages with high-income countries, and one must keep in mind that life in Mexico is considerably cheaper than it is in the wealthy North.

Obviously this article is intended to rouse support for the "poor, repressed teachers," but being on the ground here and being a teacher myself, I can assure you that this is not at all an accurate picture. Furthermore, the government tolerated more than 3 months of occupation in the city centre, where citizens' access to important government buildings, central squares, churches, and metro stations was blocked for the purpose of creating social mischief and attracting attention. Furthermore, teachers have been blocking access to the national airport in addition to freeways leading out of town. I am actually stunned that the government has waited this long to clear the occupiers out. It is important to note that the majority of teachers in this country do not support these protests.

The government cleared out teachers peacefully. Force (such as water cannons) was used against protesters who began lobbing dangerous heavy objects and Molotov cocktails at the police and at bystanders. It turned out that these violent protesters weren't even teachers--they were professional rioters hired by the teachers' union. At no point were people randomly beaten. I was there. Not only that, protesters have now moved on to occupy the square surrounding the Monumento de la Revolución, which the government is mistakenly allowing. Brutal, repressive government? Definitely not.

Please try to get your journalism right next time, and avoid the temptation to twist every international event into a leftist outrage. I am politically left-wing myself, and every time I see an article like this, I am angry at how it undermines left-wing causes in general.
by T R Wheaton
Thursday Sep 19th, 2013 11:37 AM
Whoever wrote this article clearly has either an axe to grind or no idea of what is happening in Mexico. The previous commenter is correct that the teachers are protesting against reform which will, hopefully, achieve the goal the CNTE claims to fighting for, better education for Mexico's children. There is no question of privatization and the reform is to improve public education throughout the country in part by requiring that teachers be qualified and evaluated periodically. The CNTE has left millions of students and tens of thousands of schools without teachers, as they do every year. Teachers in Mexico sell their post when they retire and the school system and principal have no say in who teaches where. The Department of Education does not even know exactly how many teachers there are since they are hired (and never fired) by the larger of the two teachers unions, the SNTE. The quality of education in Mexico is the lowest or second lowest in Latin America. Teachers, while not paid at US levels (and the cost of living is substantially lower here than in the US), make more money than the average worker and often are the highest paid persons in their towns. Parents are afraid to say anything for fear of retribution by the SNTE and CNTE. If ever a school system needed reform it is here in Mexico.