- POSTED: 14 Sep 2013 04:09
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Hundreds of teachers refused to leave a protest camp in Mexico City's historic plaza on Friday, wielding sticks and blocking access with metal grates as police deployed to the area.
MEXICO CITY: Hundreds of teachers refused to leave a protest camp in Mexico City's historic plaza on Friday, wielding sticks and blocking access with metal grates as police deployed to the area.
The teachers have occupied the historic Zocalo square for the past three weeks but the government has asked the union to vacate the area on Friday for the weekend's independence day celebrations.
Many teachers left the square, which is home to the National Palace, Aztec ruins and the cathedral, but hundreds of holdouts set trash and cardboard ablaze and put up metal grates in adjoining streets.
Hundreds of anti-riot police were deployed to the area.
"The teachers will stay here in the Zocalo, resisting and disobeying," said Ruben Nunez, leader of the Oaxaca state section of the National Education Workers Coordinator (CNTE), a dissident union.
The government of President Enrique Pena Nieto has said that the traditional independence day events would take place as scheduled in the Zocalo on Sunday and Monday.
Traditionally, the president delivers the "Cry of Independence" from the National Palace balcony and waves the Mexican flag on September 15 followed by a military parade the next day.
Pena Nieto signed an education reform this week that requires teachers to undergo mandatory performance evaluations. The teachers say the new rules violate their labour rights.