Thousands of teachers against corporate education reform ended its multi-city tour and arrived in Mexico City on Wednesday, marking the third mobilization in a week without government response.
The CNTE union members insist that the reforms are an excuse to justify mass lay-offs, which rose significantly after teachers went to the streets. They argue that teaching evaluation tests do not really measure teaching skills and do not take into account the special knowledge needed to teach in rural areas and Indigenous communities.
Waving banners for free public education and the right to protest, the teachers denounced the increasing privatization and homogenization of education due to the reforms. They were met with roadblocks at several major areas of circulation; a protest on Friday faced 4,000 troops blocking the airport and others have faced severe repression.
WATCH: Mexico: Civil Organizations Denounce Police Repression Against CNTE Protest
"What happens to them and with the reform reflects what the government wants to do with other working class people. We reject this," Hector Becerra, a social activist at the rally, told teleSUR. "We also reject how the strong police presence violates everyone's constitutional right to free assembly, protest and expression."
While the teachers demand to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, he refuses to until they drop their rejection of the reform. The teachers refused his conditions.
The union represents some 200,000 teachers, mostly in poor rural areas, established as an alternative to the corporatist SNTE union, which is aligned with the Peña Nieto government and the largest union in Latin America.
After controversy hit CNTE last week, members are accusing the secretary of education of setting them up to create false divisions between teachers.