An estimated 10,000 teachers reached the capital city of Lima as the indefinite education strike in Peru is close to reaching its 50th day, demanding the government of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski allocate more funds for this sector.
The strike, called by the Unitary Union of Peruvian Education Workers, began on June 15 and regional bases continue after several failed negotiations with the Kuczynski government.
"We are in Lima now and we ask the president and the Minister of Education to dialogue with the teachers that have come from all areas of Peru, with their real leaders, about the requests we have," Brangil Mateo Blas, head of the Junin regional union, said.
Peru's teachers are striking to demand better working conditions and salaries, as well as to fight proposed education reforms, with unions saying that dialogue with the Ministry of Education has been stalled.
According to Blas, the lack of will by the Peruvian government to meet their demands created a crisis inside the education sector, as thousands took to the streets to protest.
The strikes have continued to escalate, with the teachers taking an airport in Jauja, and closed off numerous roads in Cuzco and Ayacucho.
On July 21 the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the area where the teachers organized the strikes, effectively suspending constitutional rights of individual liberty, security, free travel and assembly for a duration of 30 days, which include the districts of Cusco, Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, San Sebastian and Wanchaq.
The government is anxious to reach an agreement, as the strikes have exerted a strong impact on traffic in the area. Flights have been blocked to the region, tourist travel to Machu Picchu has been interrupted, and main roads have been blocked by protesters
Government officials have been applying greater pressure on strikers to return to work as the strike continues, using both repression and minimum offers to stop the action.
It offered teachers a salary increase of roughly US$600, but several union groups are demanding US$1,200. And while the nationally-based Sutep accepted the agreement with the government, regional bases have rejected it and continue to struggle for their full demands.