Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Demonstrating teachers block a highway in Oaxaca on June 19. (Photo: Luis Alberto Hernandez/ AP)

Demonstrating teachers block a highway in Oaxaca on June 19. (Photo: Luis Alberto Hernandez/ AP)

Mexican Police Unleash Deadly Violence Against Protesting Teachers

Nine reportedly killed in Oaxaca, days after thousands of teachers marched in Mexico City to protest neoliberal education reforms

Lauren McCauley

A Mexican teacher protest against neoliberal education policies turned deadly on Sunday, with nine people killed, after police unleashed gunfire on the demonstrators' road blockade.

According to TeleSUR, teachers from the dissident union, Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), "had set up the blockade as part of protests over an education reform implemented by President Enrique Peña Nieto and the arrest of several of the unions' leaders over the past week," which they said, were politically motivated.

With scant reporting, much of the details of the have emerged on social media, including reports that police attacked an elementary school being used as a makeshift clinic to treat the more than 100 wounded.

Police denied that the original shots were fired by them. "Mexico's National Security Commission originally said in a statement that the police officers involved in the operation near the town of Nochixtlan were not carrying guns," BBC reports. "But federal police chief Enrique Galindo later said that an armed unit was deployed after shots were fired at the police and the protesters by 'unidentified people' not linked to the demonstration."

However, national security commissioner Renato Sales Heredia warned last week that the government would employ a "moderate use of force" to repress the ongoing mobilization.

TeleSUR further reports: "Another clash between demonstrators and police took place in the city port of Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca as well, where another group of teachers were blockading a road that connects the state with its neighbors on the Pacific coast. Local media also reported dozens of injured protesting teachers and dozens of arrests, however authorities have not said anything on this case."

Blockades were erected across Oaxaca in recent days and on Friday thousands of teachers marched in Mexico City to protest the controversial reforms.

During that demonstration, activists read a letter that was signed by hundreds of global academic, religious, popular, student, human and social rights organizations condemning the "brutal repression" exerted against teachers.

"We think that the authorities must commit to dialogue, recognizing the just demands of the teachers' movement, and not to force to solve this and any other conflict, especially in a country marked by violence and impunity," the letter states.

The union—which was founded to represent teachers in the poorer and largely indigenous southern states of Mexico—is fighting against the government's 2013 education reform that imposes teacher evaluations. They say the mandatory testing is being used to justify mass layoffs and fails to consider the specific challenges of teaching in rural areas and Indigenous communities.

"In many places, educators are expected by the population to do more than provide classes in schools lacking computers or basic supplies such as chalk," Vice News explains.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Dems to Biden: Overhaul Drone Program That Has Killed Thousands of Civilians

"In too many instances, U.S. drone strikes have instead led to unintended and deadly consequences—killing civilians and increasing anger towards the United States."

Brett Wilkins ·


War With Russia Over Ukraine 'Last Thing' US Needs, Say Progressives

Urging diplomacy over violence, foreign policy experts say "Biden's failure to acknowledge Russia's legitimate security concerns has led to the present impasse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Asked About Black Voters, McConnell Says Quiet, Racist Part Very Loud

"The othering of Americans who aren't white was never a 'quiet part,'" said Rep. Ilhan Omar, "it has always been loud and painful for everyone who has experienced it."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Basic Human Right': Bowman, Markey Unveil Affordable Energy Bill

Sen. Ed Markey called the proposal "the ambitious and comprehensive legislation we need to help ensure the health and safety of American families and support a just transition away from fossil fuel consumption."

Julia Conley ·


Heavily Polluted Louisiana Community Asks EPA to Step In

"Louisiana has failed to protect fenceline communities, including St. John residents, from the harms of highly polluting facilities," said one local advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo