MNA International Desk: Six people were killed and 53 injured from clashes in Mexico on Sunday. The clashes broke out between members of National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), a teachers’ trade union against the police at a protest.
It was the worst occurrence in a wave of protests over the past several months against education reforms that the government pressed through three years ago.
The teachers from the radical wing of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) are opposite to the obligatory challenge of teachers as part of Mexico’s education reform and are also objecting the arrest of union leaders on money laundering and other charges.
Sunday’s smashes in numerous municipalities in Oaxaca State involved federal and state police, and strikers who threw stones. Isabel Garcia, a member of the CNTE’s political commission, said three people supporting the protests were killed.
Mexico’s federal government released an announcement that made no mention to the number of people killed, confirmed that 21 federal agents had been wounded, three of them by shooting. It said the federal police that participated in the action were not carrying guns.
“The attacks with guns came from people outside the blockades who fired on the population and federal police,” it said.
Over the past week, unionized teachers have blocked streets, a shopping mall and even train tracks in the western state of Michoacan. They have also forced some bus lines to cancel trips to Oaxaca, which is a popular tourist destination, and blocked a highway on the isthmus of Tehuantepec. And in Oaxaca city, protesting teachers have set up an encampment in the city’s main square.
Federal prosecutors blame union front runners of setting up an unlawful financial network to fund protests and line their own bags. They claim the scheme operated in 2013-2015, when the union efficiently organized the payroll of Oaxaca’s teachers.
Earlier in the day, police escorted 120 tanker trucks carrying chemical waste from the nearby Salina Cruz refinery, owned and operated by state-run oil company Pemex.
On Friday, Pemex informed it could be enforced to shut operations at the refinery in “a few days” if the highway blockade persisted.
The conflict intensified after police arrested the leader of the local teachers’ union during the previous weekend. Ruben Nunez, head of one of the most combative factions of Mexico’s CNTE union, was detained on suspicion of corruption.