Protesting teachers clash with police in Mexico City

Mexico City, May 16 (EFE).- Mexican teachers unhappy with the pay hike announced by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador clashed with police in this capital Tuesday while trying to force their way into the National Palace.

Members of Section 22 of the militant CNTE teachers union traveled to Mexico City from the southern state of Oaxaca for Monday’s Day of the Teacher.

The president, commonly known as AMLO, chose to mark the occasion by announcing a 8.2 percent increase in teachers’ pay to bring the minimum monthly salary to 16,000 pesos ($914.34) in a country where the median annual income is $3,315.

The raise, he said Monday during his daily morning news conference, is to be applied retroactively from January and the administration has earmarked 42 billion pesos to fund the increase.

Teachers salaries have risen “88 percent in real terms” since he took office in December 2018, AMLO said.

Rejecting the increase as inadequate, CNTE members staged a march in the capital hours after the press conference and Tuesday saw an escalation, as unionized teachers scuffled with police guarding the National Palace, the usual venue for AMLO’s morning press conferences.

The teachers tried to tear down fences in front of the palace, which sits on Mexico City’s giant main square, the Zocalo.

Eventually, police agreed to allow a 10-person CNTE delegation to enter the palace to deliver their demands to officials.

In comments Tuesday, AMLO said that his government was already “attending” to the teachers’ concerns.

“For example, they want the cancelation of the education reform (enacted under predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto), that was already done, though they maintain that it wasn’t,” the president said.

“I am here for the teachers,” AMLO said, assuring the CNTE that that the federal education department will continue to negotiate with them.

“We have much respect for the teachers, in general,” the president said.

EFE /dr

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