In Mexico City, some 3,600 police descended on teachers in the main square Friday, deploying tear gas, a water cannon tank and helicopters to clear a month-long encampment against controversial education reform measures. More than 30 people were arrested. Dozens were wounded. The government ordered the eviction so spectators could gather in the square Sunday to hear President Enrique Peña Nieto perform the traditional “grito” or “shout,” marking the anniversary of the start of the Mexican War of Independence. Tens of thousands of teachers have been protesting the president’s reforms, including standardized teacher evaluations. Many are from the southern state of Oaxaca, where they played a key role in the 2006 popular uprising. After the crackdown, the teachers regrouped, forming a new encampment roughly a mile away at the Monument to the Revolution, where thousands gathered Sunday for an “alternative shout” ceremony. Benito Vasquez, press secretary of Oaxaca’s Section 22 of the teachers’ union, condemned Friday’s repression by the federal government.
Benito Vasquez: “We were repressed by the federal police and members of the national guard dressed as civilians. They attacked with tanks, tear gas and explosives. There were 31 people detained, our fellow teachers were assaulted, and our general secretary was attacked by the federal police.”