CHILPANCINGO, Mexico – Offices of the Guerrero state education department were set on fire on Thursday in a protest by striking teachers opposed to the educational overhaul enacted by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Some 200 members of the Ceteg organization arrived around mid-day at the five-story building in Chilpancingo, the state capital.
At least 50 teachers entered the building, ordered the personnel to leave and used gasoline to start fires on the first and second floors.
Riot police cordoned off the area after the teachers withdrew, allowing firefighters to bring the blaze under control a few hours later.
Ceteg has intensified protests this week in Chilpancingo amid an ongoing strike by members of the militant CNTE teachers union in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacan and Oaxaca.
The CNTE opposes new federally mandated teacher evaluations that are part of a sweeping education overhaul enacted in 2013 over the strenuous opposition of the teachers union and grassroots organizations.
Many teachers say the education “reform” seeks to make them scapegoats for the failings of Mexico’s chronically underfunded schools.
In conjunction with the strike, CNTE members have spent weeks protesting in Mexico City to demand talks with the government. But Peña Nieto says there will be no dialogue unless the teachers accept the reform.