Clashes Break Out As Thousands of Teachers Protest in Mexico City

Search form

Clashes Break Out As Thousands of Teachers Protest in Mexico City

Clashes Break Out As Thousands of Teachers Protest in Mexico City
Tue, 9/3/2013 - by Al Jazeera
This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera America

Clashes broke out between demonstrators and riot police in Mexico City Sunday as protests in opposition to proposed reforms by President Enrique Pena Nieto turned violent. An estimated 10,000 teachers have been camped out in the capital's Zocalo square for two weeks as part of action against the president's plan for an overhaul to the educational system.

Protesters scuffled with police near the Congress building where Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong was presenting a written state of the union report to Congress. Pena Nieto decided to deliver his speech on Monday instead of Sunday to avoid raising tensions at the planned protests.

Riot police could be seen firing tear gas and advancing on protesters, who responded by throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Congress has already passed changes to the constitution to overhaul the education system and they are now due to vote on implementing the new rules requiring teachers to undergo mandatory standardized performance tests to get jobs or promotions and end the unions' power over hiring.

As well as teachers and students opposed to Pena Nieto's educational reforms, protesters also took to the streets Sunday to show their discontent over the president's controversial energy reforms.

Pena Nieto wants to reform Pemex, the state-owned oil company, to allow private companies to explore and potentially exploit Mexico's vast oil and gas reserves. To do this, the president wants to change the constitution to give private companies incentives to invest alongside flailing state oil monopoly Pemex.

Groups of protesters could be heard chanting, "Pena Nieto is going to fall, going to fall, going to fall," as they marched to show their opposition to the reforms.

The city's public security department said four people were detained after a group of protesters clashed with police in a demonstration against the president's plan to open the state-controlled energy sector to foreign investment.

No Turning Back

Pena Nieto hopes to spur growth in Latin America's second largest economy by attracting foreign investment in the oil industry. He also aims to increase tax revenue and is expected to tax food and medicine.

Leftist politician, and 2012 presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to stop Pena Nieto's plan. He called the oil reform the biggest theft "of all time."

"We are not going to allow it because we see it as a robbery of the Mexican people and the nation," he told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Masked protesters clashed with hundreds of riot police; the student protest group #YoSoy132 said six of their members were detained.

Some 10,000 teachers have camped out in the capital's historic Zocalo square for the past two weeks, leading protests that have snarled traffic in the congested city, disrupted air travel and forced two soccer league games to be postponed.

Last week, lawmakers were forced to meet in a convention center after teachers circled Congress, but Pena Nieto has warned that there would be no turning back on the reforms.

Even without a majority in Congress, Pena Nieto managed to seal a pact with opposition leaders to negotiate reforms.

"Even with people on the street, we need to push through the energy and tax reforms," said Jose Trejo, a senior lawmaker from the opposition conservative National Action Party, or PAN, who heads the finance committee in the lower house.

Pena Nieto won the 2012 presidential election with 38.2 percent of the vote. The president's approval ratings so far, around 50 percent, have been surprisingly low for a new president in Mexico, where 70 or 80 percent popularity is not unusual.

Al Jazeera America

Article Tabs

tar sands, tar sands bikeride, carbon emissions, bitumen, The Road to Athabasca, Trans Mountain Pipeline

Through discovery of place, through story, and through personal connection with people along the way, we are journeying 1,100 miles to the tar sands of Alberta – and are asking for your support in our venture.

non-violent drug offenses, Million Dollar Blocks

"I tell you what, I wish instead of spending so much money on [incarcerating people], they'd come fill some of these crater holes behind my house."

kayaktivists, Shell protests, Fennica, Arctic oil drilling

Dozens of kayaktivists took to the water to block Shell's Fennica ice breaker from leaving port, while a group of 13 climbers rappelled off a bridge in Portland, Oregon, with enough supplies to last days if needed.

Samuel DuBose, Ray Tensing, police killings, police brutality, police violence, indicted officers

Prosecutors said officer Ray Tensing “purposely killed” 43-year-old Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man who was pulled over for a missing front license plate.

Frackanpada, anti-fracking movement, fracking bans, anti-fracking camp, fracking resistance, Fracking Ez, Basque anti-fracking movement

“This is the first time fracking activists have got together on this scale internationally – from Kurdistan to Brazil, from Ukraine to Portugal and Algeria," says Catriona of Ireland, who attended the recent Frackanpada.

bank bailouts, fraudulent bank practices, mortgage backed securities, illegal foreclosures, Lanny Breuer, Eric Holder, FDIC, securitized loans, due process, whistleblowers, robosigning, mortgage fraud, revolving door

"The system is largely gamed, broken and corrupted by money, influence peddling and a revolving door."

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago
Black Lives Matter, pepper spray cops, Cleveland police incidents, police brutality, police violence, Ferguson protests, Baltimore protests

The incident occurred Sunday during protests against the arrest of a 14-year-old.

Posted 3 days 9 hours ago
Black Lives Matter, racial injustice, economic injustice, Tia Oso, Patrisse Cullors, white supremacy, Ku Klux Klan, #BernieSoBlack

The recent Black Lives Matter protest at the Netroots Nation conference was a teachable moment for everyone – forcing progressives to pick a side as they shape next year's electoral agenda.

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago
Endangered Species Act, animal protections, Federal Land Freedom Act, Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act, National Defense Authorization Act, Common Sense in Species Protection Act, Clean Energy Act

A spate of bills attached with riders are moving through Congress that would dismantle the historic law by transferring authority from the federal level to the states – inaugurating an era of unrestrained development.

Posted 3 days 9 hours ago

Being sick and having nowhere to turn is terrorizing far too many Americans – as medical fraud, huge price markups and pharmaceutical copyright laws are contributing to growing illnesses and early death.

Posted 2 days 9 hours ago
bank bailouts, fraudulent bank practices, mortgage backed securities, illegal foreclosures, Lanny Breuer, Eric Holder, FDIC, securitized loans, due process, whistleblowers, robosigning, mortgage fraud, revolving door

"The system is largely gamed, broken and corrupted by money, influence peddling and a revolving door."

Being sick and having nowhere to turn is terrorizing far too many Americans – as medical fraud, huge price markups and pharmaceutical copyright laws are contributing to growing illnesses and early death.

kayaktivists, Shell protests, Fennica, Arctic oil drilling

Dozens of kayaktivists took to the water to block Shell's Fennica ice breaker from leaving port, while a group of 13 climbers rappelled off a bridge in Portland, Oregon, with enough supplies to last days if needed.

Greek debt crisis, Troika, Greek anti-austerity movement, IMF, austerity policies

Having spent the last week in Athens talking to ordinary citizens, young and old, as well as current and past officials, I’ve come to the view that this is about far more than just Greece and the euro.

Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, corporate trade deals, U.S. Business Coalition for TPP, corporate lobbying, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, fast track authority, Fast Track Promotion

Washington lobbying by companies and groups involved in global trade boomed in the past nine months.

Sign Up