The teachers’ union has called for an independent investigation into what they describe as “extrajudicial killings” during protests in Nochixtlan.
Mexican authorities agreed Thursday to pay reparations for a violent police crackdown on teacher protests in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca earlier this month that left 11 dead and dozens more injured.
The agreement was reached after a marathon five-hour meeting between Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, residents of Nochixtlan, and the CNTE teachers union. Following the meeting, the ministry’s deputy secretary of human rights, Roberto Campa Cifrian, announced plans for federal investigators to visit the injured demonstrators and surviving relatives of those killed. The lethal June 19th confrontation in the southern state has sparked an international outcry over police tactics and a wave of solidarity actions across Mexico and beyond, local media reported Friday.
“We must personally go to Nochixtlan to guarantee compensation for damages as soon as possible and in accordance with international standards,” Campa Cifrian said in a press conference.
The CNTE, a national union with a significant presence in Oaxaca, demanded that a special prosecutor and international authorities investigate the attack, to identify both the “intellectual and material authors” behind the “extrajudicial killings.” Authorities initially accused militant demonstrators of initiating the violence but backtracked when witnesses at the scene accused the police of triggering the melee.
In addition to the investigation of the violence, the CNTE has also proposed that the talks in Nochixtlan include the teachers’ demands for structural reforms in public education, which initially triggered the demonstrations.Members of the CNTE have vowed to continue protests and road blockades in Oaxaca, which ramped up again Thursday, until the government answers their demand for an overhaul of the education model, including the repeal of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s neoliberal education policies. But Nieto has said that the education reforms are not up for debate, and Education Minister Aurelio Nuño has refused to meet with striking teachers unless they accept the contested education reforms.
The 200,000 member union is working on preparing a comprehensive agenda ahead of the next round of talks, while also encouraging more teachers to join the national struggle to defend public education.