Teachers unions in Argentina have been granted a victory as part of their larger fight for wage increases and better funding for education after the construction of a traveling teachers tent was authorized by the local government of Buenos Aires.
The tent has been stationed outside of Argentina’s Congress and has been providing free classes to people, but on Sunday teachers were evicted from the large tent with authorities arguing that the structure had no formal authorization to be situated in public space.
Teachers unions said that they were illegally evicted as they had already asked for permission to have the tent — that would not be blocking any public spaces — outside the Congress for a number of days and that it was then scheduled to move on to the next location.
Protesters say that, during the eviction, they were assaulted by police forces in riot gear and were hit with pepper spray and beatings. The right-wing government of President Mauricio Macri ordered the removal of the protesters, according to union leaders and local media.
But on Tuesday, the government of Buenos Aires has granted authorization to the teachers union to keep running the mobile education tent, under the agreement that it is removed by the morning of April 19.
City officials said that the teachers unions had met all the requirements for the authorization of the structure, while Diego Santilli, deputy chief of government said that the teachers still had work to complete in the tent.
“Thanks to the struggle of the teachers and a government that has come back to its sense, the time we were given allows us to install the tent,” Esteban Sottile, one of the teachers, told Argenitna's La Nacion.
The mobile tent expects to teach 30 students and will be complete with a classroom, sitting area and a living room and painted with the slogans “Teach, resist, dream.” Located across from the country’s Congress, the school also wants to attract the attention of politicians inside, so that teachers can explain their struggle.
Teachers are pushing for a wage increase of 35 percent to combat for rising inflation in the country, which has also been hit by the Macri government’s austerity measures. The government has offered a 19 percent wage increase for teacher and has faced ongoing large protests that have blocked streets and pushed back the start date of many schools.