CHILPANCINGO, Mexico – Teachers in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero and activists from various organizations on Wednesday destroyed the offices of several political parties in the state capital of Chilpancingo, where changes to the state education law were approved by lawmakers earlier in the week.
With sticks and pipes in hand and their faces covered by handkerchiefs and ski masks, dozens of members of the State Coordinator for Guerrero Education Workers, or CETEG, and other organizations first entered the offices of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN.
The group, which led a teachers’ march through Chilpancingo’s downtown, broke windows, computers and furniture amid the confusion of the people working there, Efe learned.
After wreaking havoc at the PAN office, the group moved on to the headquarters of the Citizens Movement and the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, both of which are leftist in orientation, and carried out similar destruction without security forces intervening.
The local headquarters of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, also became the target for the demonstrators’ wrath and they caused similar damage there. Apparently, at the PRI offices they burned furniture and documents.
In remarks to Milenio Television, Chilpancingo Mayor Mario Moreno said the attacks were “very regrettable” and added that the authorities would not allow themselves to be provoked.
In addition, he said that the city does not have “the ability to confront a mob of 4,000 or 5,000” people on the rampage and it will not put its roughly 500 members of the local security forces in danger “to create a conflict.”
“We’re undertaking operations ... to divert all vehicular traffic” from the area and “we’re not going to create confrontation with the citizenry,” he said.
The mayor, who belongs to the PRI, said that the attitude adopted by the teachers “borders on intolerance” and he lamented the apparent fact that they are motivated by “interests very far removed from what educational reform is,” but he also expressed his willingness to help find a solution to the situation.
The attack on the party offices comes one day after state legislators approved changed to the state education law.
The members of CETEG, who belong to the Popular Movement of Guerrero coalition, verbally attacked the lawmakers for not including their demands, which are opposed to the federal education reform signed by President Enrique Peña Nieto in February.
The teachers’ demonstrations began on Feb. 25 and increased in subsequent weeks with the blocking of the highway connecting Acapulco with the Mexican capital and sit-ins in front of businesses.
The education reform measure puts an end to the union practice of filling vacant posts in the public schools with their members and establishes a system of obligatory merit-based evaluation for teachers.
The teachers are being supported in their protests by other organizations, including squads of armed civilians who have deployed in various parts of Guerrero to guarantee the safety of their communities. EFE