Mexico Teachers Protest: At Least Three Killed in Oaxaca Clashes

At least three people have been killed in southern Mexico in clashes between protesting teachers and police. Another 45 people, including many police officers, were injured.

Mexico Teachers Protest

The incident took place in the state of Oaxaca, where two high-profile union leaders were arrested last week, accused of corruption.

Members of the CNTE union, which has a history of radical activism, have been blocking roads in southern Mexico ever since the union leaders were arrested.

The authorities said the police were trying to clear the roads when unknown gunmen began firing at both sides in order to create chaos and conflict.

The policemen involved in the operation near the town of Nochixtlan were not carrying guns, Mexico’s National Security Commission said in a statement.

The state-owned oil company, Pemex, warned on Friday that it might be forced to close a refinery in the area if the highway linking Oaxaca to the capital, Mexico City, remained blocked.

‘Stealing textbooks’

The dissident CNTE union opposes education reforms introduced by President Enrique Pena Nieto in 2013.

The changes which include new measures to assess teachers’ performance.

Union members say the corruption allegations against their leaders are politically-motivated.

Ruben Nunez was accused of siphoning off money raised illegally from union members. Prosecutors also accused him of money laundering.

“He raised more than 24m pesos ($1.3m; £900,000) illegally between 2013 and 2015,” said prosecutor Gilberto Higuera.

For two years the union demanded a 3.5% cut of purchases made by unionised members from some businesses in Oaxaca, according to Mr Higuera.

The money was taken from the education workers’ payslips, which prosecutors say was controlled by the union.

Mr Nunez’s deputy, Francisco Villalobos, was arrested for allegedly stealing textbooks.

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