Photo: Teachers protest in Mexico City
Around 1,000 Mexican teachers unhappy about aspects of a wide-ranging schools overhaul blocked the main road into the capital’s international airport on Thursday, forcing outbound passengers to abandon vehicles and walk to the terminal.
The protest by members of the militant CNTE union shut down Airport Boulevard in both directions.
Around 350 riot police have been deployed to prevent protesters from reaching the terminal, the Mexico City Public Safety Department said.
Arriving in trucks, the teachers “tried to surround the environs of the Mexico City International Airport,” the department said.
A similar CNTE mobilization on Aug. 23 blocked vehicle access to the airport for more than nine hours.
Mexico City’s mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera, told reporters Thursday he is ready to bear the political costs of whatever decisions he makes in dealing with the teachers’ protests, which began nearly three weeks ago.
Acknowledging that the protests have caused disruptions, he vowed to fulfill his obligation to “care for the city in everything that has to do with its functioning.”
The CNTE activists, most of them from poor, rural areas with grossly inadequate infrastructure, gathered in the capital last month in hopes of dissuading Congress from passing laws to implement the educational overhaul President Enrique Peña Nieto promulgated in February.
Lawmakers, however, eventually approved the law subjecting teachers to a comprehensive regime of evaluation.
The CNTE, which represents a third of the country’s public school teachers, says it does not object in principle to evaluation, only to the “punitive” scheme devised by the government.
Protests will continue until authorities agree to modify the evaluation program, the CNTE’s Francisco Bravo has said, while the government insists it will not relent.