More than 100 people injured, 24 detained during five-hour fight between teachers, police.
Nancy Caouette - MEXICO CITY (AA) – Eight people were killed and more than 100 injured in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca in clashes between protesting teachers and police, authorities said Monday.
The riots, which saw 24 people detained and 12 vehicles torched, according to officials, took place in several municipalities, but the most violent incidents occurred during a five-hour standoff in Nochixtlan, 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the state capital of Oaxaca City.
“State and federal police will be here until they restore order, peace and harmony,” Gov. Gabino Cue Cue told reporters.
The governor said all the dead were civilians, and two had ties to the CNTE teachers’ union -- known for its activism and the biggest in the country with 100,000 members.
During the last five weeks, striking teachers set up a massive camp in the center of several municipalities such as Mexico City, organizing marches and blocking roads, malls, and train tracks. They also occupied and burned a building belonging to the ministry of education in the state of Guerrero, north of Oaxaca, on June 10.
“The gunshots came from people outside the blockades who fired on both the population and federal police,” said the governor’s office in a statement released Sunday.
Mexico’s government said that at least 21 federal police officers were wounded, adding that law enforcement personnel who were trying to open the roads were not carrying guns.
Some members of the CNTE said a group that infiltrated their ranks was responsible for the gunfire. “If we were shooting them, do you really think that police officers could protect themselves with these simple shields?’’ a protester told the local La Jornada newspaper.
According to local media, at least one police officer fired several rounds but it was unclear if the shots were from a federal or state agent. The Associated Press also reported that its journalists saw riot police firing on protesters.
The protest stem in part from education reforms passed in 2013 and a mandatory test enforced late last year that teachers need to pass in order to keep their jobs.