Mexico teachers clash with police in Zocalo Square

Police used water cannon and tear gas against protesters

Related Stories

Police in Mexico City have clashed with protesters during an operation to clear a square occupied by striking teachers.

Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to remove the protesters from the city's main square, the Zocalo.

Striking teachers had been camped out there for weeks. Some responded with petrol bombs as police moved in after a government deadline passed.

The teachers have been demanding changes to education reforms approved by President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The authorities said they wanted to clear the Zocalo for the Independence Day celebrations at the weekend.

Most of the protesters left peacefully by Friday's deadline. But some stayed on, and police backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters clashed with missile-throwing protesters on the square and in nearby streets.

Police enter Zocalo Square in Mexico City Most of the teachers left the Zocalo quietly after the police moved in.
Mexican Federal Police officers clash with teachers protesting against education reforms, 13 September 2013 But clashes erupted after some remained in the square which had been occupied for weeks.
Mexican federal police officers stand around a group of teachers protesting against education reforms on Mexico City's Zocalo square, 13 September Hundreds of police broke through the barricades set up by the teachers.
Riot police detain a protester during a mass eviction of striking teachers in Mexico City's main square, 13 September 2013 A number of demonstrators were arrested, police say.
A demonstrator throws stones at Mexican police during a violent eviction of teachers protesting against education reforms, on 13 September The teachers are demanding changes in the education reforms.
Riot police enter the main plaza, the Zocalo, in a mass eviction operation to remove striking teachers, in Mexico City, 13 September There was pressure on the president to clear the square - where the teachers had been camping - before Independence Day celebrations begin on Sunday.

Officers tore down the teachers' temporary shelters and put out small fires started by the demonstrators and made a number of arrests.

The BBC's Will Grant in Mexico City says government's aim of clearing the square has been achieved - but the sight of riot police and armoured vehicles in the country's most emblematic plaza is not the image of unity it wanted to portray hours before Mr Pena Nieto's first Independence Day as president begins.

Our correspondent says that some of the demonstrators were thought to be radical anti-government activists who were not necessarily associated with the teachers union.

The educations reforms introduced by the government include performance-related tests for teachers.

Critics accuse Mexico's teachers' unions of being corrupt and having too much control over job allocation.

Last week, thousands of its members protested outside the Senate in an attempt to disrupt the passing of the bill, which had already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies.

The National Education Workers' Co-ordinator (CNTE) has been most vocal in protesting against the reforms, which it says will lead to mass lay-offs.

CNTE union members argue that the compulsory test are a way for the government to sack teachers en masse.

They also say that the tests will not take into account the difficult conditions teachers in the poorest regions of Mexico have to work under.

Juan Garcia, a teacher from the southern state of Oaxaca, said he hoped the protests would garner support from Mexicans across the country, who he invited "to join the struggle for a continuation of a free education system".

The government has argued that union control over teaching jobs has contributed to corruption, which has seen poorly trained teachers promoted over more qualified colleagues.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • GeoguessrWhere in the world...?

    Think you are a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s interactive game

Programmes

  • StudentsClick Watch

    Could a new social network help tailor lessons to students’ needs and spot when they fall behind?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.