Mobilization of teachers over the death of one of them by police.
Photo: @Quadratín Chiapas
David Gemayel Ruiz Estudillo, a teacher of 23 years of age who pertained to Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE), died on 8 December after having been hit by a truck during a confrontation between dissident teachers in Chiapas and police forces. Both parties held the other responsible for the death of the teacher.
Since 7 December, the teachers in opposition to the performance evaluation that has been promoted by the educational reform have declared an indefinite strike. The evaluation was programmed for 12-13 December, though at the last moment the authorities delayed it until the eighth of December, in an attempt to inhibit mobilizations for boycott. In any case, teachers attempted to blockade access to the center for exams, to which teachers had been moved after having been assembled in military installations. At the center confrontations raged with the police, leaving one teacher dead, six arrested, and several others injured. During the second day of the test, on 9 December, the teachers protested in downtown Tuxtla Gutiérrez, where they kidnapped five police and appropriate hundreds of ammunition clips, gas bombs, body armor, shields, and helmets, among other items. After negotiating with federal authorities, the arrested teachers were exchanged for the police who had been held, as well as the stolen equipment. According to sources among the teachers, it is estimated that the State response involved between 10,000 and 15,000 police.
Following the positive evaluation made by the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) regarding the release of their arrested comrades and the boycott of the second part of the evaluation, they suspended the sit-in they had installed in the plaza and called for the reinstatement of the 50,000 teachers who had been on strike for three days. Despite this, one of the CNTE leaders, Pedro Gómez Bamaca, warned that “in Chiapas the labor reform will not pass,” and he announced his participation in the mobilization in Mexico City planned for 18 December. In this way, the CNTE communicated that it would not allow the return to work of the 2,300 teachers who did complete the exam.
The confrontations over the evaluation process in Chiapas has not been an aberration. Both the application of the exam as well as the larger educational reform have been rejected by many teachers and have involved high levels of militarization, with strong protests in Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán. It bears noting that David Gemayel Ruiz is the third teacher who has died in protests against the evaluation, following the death in February of Claudio Castillo Peña in Acapulco and the murder in March of Antonio Vivar Díaz in Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero.
For more information (in Spanish):
Maestros de Chiapas dan “tregua” y regresan a sus centros de trabajo (Chiapas Paralelo, 10 de diciembre de 2015)
Intercambian maestros a 5 policías por los 6 profesores detenidos (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de diciembre de 2015)
Difunden video del enfrentamiento entre policías y maestros en Chiapas (La Jornada, 9 de diciembre de 2015)
Autoridades y maestros se acusan de provocar el fallecimiento de un docente (La Jornada, 9 de noviembre de 2015)
El asesinato de David Gemayel Ruiz (La Jornada, 8 de diciembre de 2015)
Reforma educativa cobra tercera víctima: Muere maestro durante protesta en Chiapas (Educa, 9 de diciembre de 2015)
SEP inicia evaluación bajo resguardo de la SEDENA y Policía Federal (Chiapas Paralelo, 8 de diciembre de 2015)
Maestros de Chiapas inician este lunes plantón indefinido y acciones para impedir la evaluación (Chiapas Paralelo, 7 de diciembre de 2015)
Federales arriban a Chiapas, CNTE prepara acciones de resistencia (Chiapas Paralelo, 7 de diciembre de 2015)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Guerrero: Teachers in Acapulco successfully sabotage educational evaluation (26 December 2015)
National: Thousands of teachers march against the educational reform (4 October 2013)