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Brutal Crackdown Confronts Teachers' Strike in Oaxaca

IN PICTURES: Teachers' ongoing protests against neoliberal education reforms faced harsh repression in Oaxaca, with bloody results

Mexico's state federal police launched a new push against Mexico's striking teachers in Oaxaca in the latest stage of what the organized teachers have called a "big media, police and military offensive” to enforce unpopular President Enrique Peña Nieto's controversial neoliberal education reforms.

Mexican police attacked teachers striking against neoliberal education reforms in the southern state of Oaxaca Sunday morning, killing at least eight people and leaving dozens more injured.

The eight dead are Oscar Aguilar Ramírez, 25, Andrés Sanabria García, 23, Anselmo Cruz Aquino, 33, Yalit Jiménez Santiago, 28, Oscar Nicolás Santiago, Omar González Santiago, 22, Antonio Perez García, and Jesús Cadena Sánchez, 19. They were shot and killed when police opened fire on the blockade.

Police were attempting to evict teachers from a blockade erected on the Oaxaca-Puebla highway in the municipality of Nochixtlan when gunfire erupted, leading to violent clashes that lasted approximately four hours.

Teachers from the dissident CNTE union 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 on trumped-up pretexts over the past week.

Teachers also reported no-knock raids, enforced disappearances of strike leaders, and blackouts throughout areas of Oaxaca sympathetic to the strike, while leaders from the SNTE and CNTE's Section 22 union local pledged to continue fighting the neoliberal education reforms of the Peña Nieto government.

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Oaxaca recently marked ten years since the June 14, 2006 expulsion of protesters from the Zócalo (main square) of Oaxaca de Juárez, setting off the 5-month "Oaxaca Commune"
Oaxaca recently marked ten years since the June 14, 2006 expulsion of protesters from the Zócalo (main square) of Oaxaca de Juárez, setting off the 5-month "Oaxaca Commune" Photo:Subversiones
Protesters from the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) teachers’ union clash with riot police officers during a protest against President Enrique Pena Nieto’s education reform, in the town of Nochixtlan, northwest of the state capital, Oaxaca City, Mexico June 19, 2016.
Protesters from the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) teachers’ union clash with riot police officers during a protest against President Enrique Pena Nieto’s education reform, in the town of Nochixtlan, northwest of the state capital, Oaxaca City, Mexico June 19, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Federal Police used live weaponry, tear gas, stones, and rubber bullets in their repressive moves against the protesting teachers.
Federal Police used live weaponry, tear gas, stones, and rubber bullets in their repressive moves against the protesting teachers. Photo:EFE
Federal Police detain a protester following battles to clear blockades on the highways surrounding Oaxaca City.
Federal Police detain a protester following battles to clear blockades on the highways surrounding Oaxaca City. Photo:EFE
Users on social media said that dozens of the injured were left untreated after the police seized the hospital in Nochixtlan and only allowed injured police access. Injured demonstrators were reportedly treated inside a nearby church.
Users on social media said that dozens of the injured were left untreated after the police seized the hospital in Nochixtlan and only allowed injured police access. Injured demonstrators were reportedly treated inside a nearby church. Photo:Subversiones
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto unveiled the education reform in 2013.  The controversial law imposes teacher evaluations in order to determine which applicants will be chosen to fill open posts in the public school system nationwide. Critics say the testing only justifies mass layoffs and does not effectively measure the skills needed to teach in rural areas and Indigenous communities.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto unveiled the education reform in 2013. The controversial law imposes teacher evaluations in order to determine which applicants will be chosen to fill open posts in the public school system nationwide. Critics say the testing only justifies mass layoffs and does not effectively measure the skills needed to teach in rural areas and Indigenous communities. Photo:Subversiones
In Mexico, common protest tactics include shutting down major highways or staging protest camps in front of government offices.
In Mexico, common protest tactics include shutting down major highways or staging protest camps in front of government offices. Photo:EFE
Helicopters rained teargas down upon protesters.
Helicopters rained teargas down upon protesters. Photo:Subversiones
Combined Tactical Systems teargas deployed; the same gas has been used against protesters as far as Ferguson, Missouri, U.S.A., and Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine.
Combined Tactical Systems teargas deployed; the same gas has been used against protesters as far as Ferguson, Missouri, U.S.A., and Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine. Photo:Subversiones
The situation in Oaxaca recalled scenes from 2006, when teachers and students in the state posed a real threat to corrupt former Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
The situation in Oaxaca recalled scenes from 2006, when teachers and students in the state posed a real threat to corrupt former Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. Photo:Subversiones
After hours of clashes, the police finally broke through the blockade in Nochixtlan.
After hours of clashes, the police finally broke through the blockade in Nochixtlan. Photo:AFP
Several died when police opened fire using live ammunition, in addition to deploying less-lethal weaponry.
Several died when police opened fire using live ammunition, in addition to deploying less-lethal weaponry. Photo:EFE
The controversial education reforms impose teacher evaluations in order to determine which applicants will be chosen to fill open posts in the public school system nationwide. Critics say the testing only justifies mass layoffs and does not effectively measure teaching skills, like the special knowledge and demeanor needed to teach in rural areas and Indigenous communities.
The controversial education reforms impose teacher evaluations in order to determine which applicants will be chosen to fill open posts in the public school system nationwide. Critics say the testing only justifies mass layoffs and does not effectively measure teaching skills, like the special knowledge and demeanor needed to teach in rural areas and Indigenous communities. Photo:Subversiones
Teachers and residents clashed with Mexican federal police after protests turned violent in the state of Oaxaca on June 19.
Teachers and residents clashed with Mexican federal police after protests turned violent in the state of Oaxaca on June 19. Photo:AFP
The violence came after seven days of street blockages and protests disrupting traffic on a major highway connecting Oaxaca to Mexico City, the government said.
The violence came after seven days of street blockages and protests disrupting traffic on a major highway connecting Oaxaca to Mexico City, the government said. Photo:Subversiones
National mobilizations have been declared in support of the striking teachers.
National mobilizations have been declared in support of the striking teachers. Photo:AFP
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