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  • Police forcibly evict teachers and informal vendors from their protest encampment in the main plaza in the City of Oaxaca, Sept. 11, 2016.

    Police forcibly evict teachers and informal vendors from their protest encampment in the main plaza in the City of Oaxaca, Sept. 11, 2016. | Photo: Twitter / @Tte_ARto

Despite having returned to classes, the state government opted to clear a protest camp set up by teachers affiliated with the CNTE union.

In a raid conducted in the middle of the night Saturday, at least 500 police officers forcibly cleared a sit-in protest camp set up by teachers in the center of the City of Oaxaca.

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Teachers from the militant National Coordinator of Education Workers, known as the CNTE, had the camp set up on a main plaza of the state capital since May.

In Mexico, the erection of encampments is a common tactic used as a means of putting pressure on government.

The local government announced that the plaza was cleared in anticipation of the upcoming events celebrating Mexican independence and added that guards would be stationed around the square to prevent new camps from being set up.

In light of the number of officers present, the teachers did not attempt to resist the eviction. Only hours before the raid, the CNTE had warned that it would hold Governor Gabino Cue responsible for “any attempt at repression towards our comrades in the sit-in camp in the square.”

The stalls of at least 100 informal vendors were also cleared away. In Mexico, people employed in the informal economy often face repression or confiscation of their goods but are given refuge by the teachers in their camps.

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The CNTE has maintained its protest for over a hundred days, including permanent encampments in several state capitals and in Mexico City.

Teachers from various states refused to go back to classes for the start of the school year last month to protest the government’s refusal to consider their demands. Although striking teachers from Oaxaca recently announced that they would return to the classroom, 30 percent remain on strike.

The CNTE is fiercely opposed to President Enrique Peña Nieto's so-called education reform for threatening public education with creeping privatization and failing to respond to the education needs of rural and Indigenous students.

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