Navigation
Suscribe
Menu Search Facebook Twitter
Search Close
Menu ALL SECTIONS
  • Capital Coahuila
  • Capital Hidalgo
  • Capital Jalisco
  • Capital Morelos
  • Capital Oaxaca
  • Capital Puebla
  • Capital Quintana Roo
  • Capital Querétaro
  • Capital Veracruz
  • Capital México
  • Capital Michoacán
  • Capital Mujer
  • Reporte Índigo
  • Estadio Deportes
  • The News
  • Efekto
  • Diario DF
  • Capital Edo. de Méx.
  • Green TV
  • Revista Cambio
Radio Capital
Pirata FM
Capital Máxima
Capital FM
Digital
Prensa
Radio
TV
X
Newsletter
Facebook Twitter
X Welcome! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news, data, statistical and exclusive promotions for subscribers
Mexico

Officials, Union Trade Blame for Deadly Mexico Clash

The clashes are the latest flashpoint in an ongoing battle for control of public education in Oaxaca

A protester walks with a Mexican flag on the still blocked highway in Oaxaca state, near the town of Nochixtlán, photo: AP/Eduardo Verdugo
1 year ago

Mexican authorities and protesters on Monday traded accusations of responsibility for weekend clashes that left eight people dead and more than 100 wounded in the restive southern state of Oaxaca.

Federal Police Chief Enrique Galindo, speaking on local Radio Fórmula, said few teachers were involved in the violence and attributed it to other, unspecified “radical groups.”

However, the radical teachers’ union involved in the protests denied that and alleged that police infiltrators were to blame.

The clashes are the latest flashpoint in an ongoing battle for control of public education in Oaxaca, where the union is resisting government attempts to implement national education reforms passed under President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Galindo said things initially went smoothly Sunday when officers moved to reopen the highway around 7 a.m. after it had been blocked by protesters. Traffic flow resumed for about two hours following dialogue between unarmed police and demonstrators from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE).

But later the crowd swelled to about 2,000 protesters, some of them armed with gasoline bombs and powerful fireworks, Galindo added. When police confirmed gunshots, he ordered armed police to move in.

“It was a radical change of scene,” Galindo said. “It was practically an ambush.”

Late Monday, Oaxaca state prosecutor Joaquín Carrillo said in a news conference that seven civilians died of bullet wounds, none of them teachers. One more person died of wounds he suffered while handling one of the powerful fireworks that protesters used against police.

More than 100 people were wounded before police pulled back, Galindo said, adding that “staying in Nochixtlán would have brought more serious consequences.”

At the news conference, Galindo showed photos of a police helicopter that had been hit by bullets. He said three federal police officers were still being held — apparently by townspeople or protesters — in Nochixtlán.

Protesters stand beside trucks blocking the highway in the state of Oaxaca, near the town of Nochixtlan, Mexico, Monday, June 20, 2016. Mexican police say few teachers were involved in violence at a weekend highway protest in the southern state of Oaxaca in which six people died. The teachers are protesting against plans to overhaul the country's education system which include federally mandated teacher evaluations. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Protesters stand beside trucks blocking the highway in the state of Oaxaca, near the town of Nochixtlán, Mexico, Monday, June 20, 2016. Photo: AP/Eduardo Verdugo

The CNTE, in turn, said those killed were teachers and members of other social groups that support them, adding that 20 people were missing. The union denied the presence of “radical groups” and said police had infiltrated their movement. It demanded that Oaxaca Gov. Gabino Cué Monteagudo resign.

“This movement is not going to stop,” said union member Juan García.

Several thousand teachers and activists marched in Oaxaca city, chanting “Murderers!”

Galindo said he did not know if police had fired any of the fatal gunshots. Videos showed at least one officer firing a gun several times, though it was unclear if he was a federal or state agent.

About 100 to 150 protesters maintained the roadblock on Monday in Nochixtlán, where about a half-dozen burned vehicles littered the area and there were no police in sight.

Cué Monteagudo said the blockades had caused serious economic problems in the state, including food shortages.

The federal attorney general’s office said it would assist Oaxaca prosecutors in investigating how the shooting broke out. Galindo said officials would try to resume talks with the teachers.

The protesters are demanding the federal government sit down to negotiate the educational reform; to date teachers who have refused to take evaluation tests have been fired. The radical teachers’ union in Oaxaca says local conditions in the heavily indigenous state should be taken into account in the testing.

On Monday afternoon, Oaxaca city’s graceful main plaza was hidden under a sea of tarps and small tents set up by protesters. Garbage sat in heaps around the perimeter, and the cafes that surround the square and would normally be packed with tourists were empty.

Anarchist graffiti covered the facades of historic buildings on streets radiating out from the zócalo. The tall glasses windows of a bank a block from the square were all broken and the ATMs just inside the front door were vandalized and spray painted with anarchist logos.

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) reported that journalist Elpidio Ramos Zárate of the newspaper El Sur del Istmo in Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca state, was killed Sunday, but it was not immediately clear if it was related to the protests.

Ramos Zárate had reportedly been taking pictures of some looters in Juchitán cleaning out store shelves. The Inter American Press Association quoted the news manager of Ramos Zárate’s paper as saying he had been threatened by masked men who demanded he not cover the protests and looting.

Teacher protests have been going on for years in Oaxaca. A decade ago, the union launched a six-month takeover of central Oaxaca city that only ended after police stormed the barricades.

Mexico’s education reform aims to wrest control over struggling schools from unions that have often had sole power over hiring, firing, promotions and budgets. The CNTE strenuously opposes a new system of teacher evaluations and rules allowing for educators to be dismissed if they miss too many schooldays.

Federal prosecutors accuse union leaders of setting up an illegal financial network to fund protests and line their own pockets. They allege the scheme operated in 2013-2015, when the union effectively controlled the payroll of Oaxaca’s teachers.

Following the arrest of some of its top leaders, the union called for a revolt.

Comments Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
More From The News
World

Facebook to Release Russia Ads, Beef Up ...

7 hours ago
World

World Powers Rally to Defend Value of Ir ...

8 hours ago
World

Maria Destroys Homes, Triggers Flooding ...

8 hours ago
Mexico

Mexico Shocked By News: Girl Trapped in ...

8 hours ago
Most Popular

Mexico Shocked By News: Girl Trapped in ...

By The Associated Press
Mexico

Earthquake Death Toll Rises to 273

By Notimex
Mexico

7.1 Magnitude Quake Kills 139 as Buildui ...

By The Associated Press
Mexico

Semar: No Missing Child in Collapsed Sch ...

By The Associated Press
Mexico

Relief Centers in Mexico City

By The News
Mexico