THE CNTE SHOWS ITS MUSCLE: holds one of the largest marches in its 37-year history
By: Isaín Mandujano
This Friday, tens of thousands of teachers miles of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE, its initials in Spanish) held one of the largest marches that it has carried out in in its 37 years of existence, in order to protest against the education reform.
Accompanied by members of social organizations, activists and citizens, parents and students, leaders of the teachers’ movement calculated some 100,000 people participated on its long march of several kilometers from the western exit from the state capital to the central plaza. The human column extended for 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).
Adelfo Alejandro Gómez, Secretary General of the SNTE Section, Alberto Mirón, Pedro Gómez Bámaca, Manuel Mendoza, among other leaders of that same union section, as well as the leaders of Section 40 headed by José Armando Falconi Borrás, headed the demonstration that advertised it would be peaceful on the entire trajectory.
They gave orders that no one should commit acts of vandalism and that anyone caught would be bound; that no one would be masked or cover their face; and that if any alleged infiltrator was detected the order was to detain him and take him to the central plaza.
On both sides of the human column the teachers extended a cordon in order to have greater control of who was participating in the demonstration and so that no one could infiltrate, but rather was someone known inside the teachers ranks.
Along the route citizens, parents and students held signs on which they showed their support for the teachers’ movement: “Teacher you taught me to read, now you teach me to struggle,” some signs read.
They reached the central plaza where they held a rally and burned the green school uniforms the government of Manuel Velasco Coello granted and a suspected infiltrator was detected among the crowd, who was apparently identified as a police agent dressed as a civilian.
Adelfo Alejandro Gómez as well as Manuel Mendoza, leaders of the teachers’ movement demanded a table for dialogue and negotiation from the state and federal governments because until now they are the ones that have been closed to opening the doors for that path.
The teachers said that they would continue to protest, and that while this is a very large march, they are preparing marches on Sunday, May 1 and on May 15 that would be a national strike.
On this occasion, the state or federal police bodies were absent along the route of the mobilization. The majority of them were concentrated at the Víctor Manuel Reyna Zoque Stadium. Arriving from their trucks, they complained about the heat and hunger, as well as about the lack of bathrooms for everyone.
The only threat that weighs over the teachers is the docking of salaries about which the Secretary of Education, Sonia Rincón Chanona warned. She is a friend and old disciple of Elba Esther Gordillo Morales.
None of the 18 detained last April 15 were seen in the march, but it was confirmed that the pre-school teacher Yuri del Carmen Pérez, 30, arrived yesterday (Thursday) coming from Mexico City. He is a member of Section 40 of the SNTE and was detained by the Federal Police last Friday (April 15). He was released on bond after paying 28,000 pesos as bail. His family, friends and teacher compañeros, but above all his little daughter received him with joy when he returned home.
The rest of the 17 detainees that were taken to the federal prison in Tepic, Nayarit, arrived today.
Manuel Mendoza, leader of the teachers sector magisterial in the Los Altos region of Chiapas, classified this march as historic, as one of the most important since the CNTE’s founding in 1979.
Pedro Gómez Bámaca, another of the CNTE’s leaders, said that with all the demonstrators from the social organizations there could have been 100,000 people that were mobilized this Friday. The state government said there were 12,000 teachers. What’s certain is that the human column extended for some 5 kilometers.
For its part, the Chiapas Human Rights Commission (CEDH) said this afternoon that it established that this Friday the demonstrators realized their protests in an orderly and peaceful way through the principal streets of the Chiapas capital.
Additionally, the state human rights defense organism witnessed that Chiapas security authorities kept to the side but attentive to possible outbreaks of violence or possible demonstrations outside the law.
The president of the State Human Rights Commission, Juan Oscar Trinidad Palacios, instructed the Visitors General Specialized in Women, Migrants and Indigenous, as well as the Coordinator of Regional Adjunct Visitors, so that during their march and stay the organism’s personnel would accompany the marchers, who had faith that everything would transpire without violence or altercations with civil society.
Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo
Friday, April 22, 2016
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee