10,000 Teachers Grind Mexico City to a Halt
Mexico City is home to 22 million people- what is that, 2-3 New York Cities? It sprawls all over the place that make it appear there are cities within cities. On good days, it is a tolerated mess of traffic, but when 10,000 angry school teachers protested a new reform program for a week, the other citizens suffered greatly in numerous ways.
The cause of this upheaval is a government reform program that would subject teachers to periodic evaluations in the form of standardized tests, and end the unions' power over hiring. That would be a jolt to an education system in which some teachers can actually inherit their jobs from their parents. The teachers that fail this test, will not be fired but reassigned outside of the classroom. What does that mean? Crossing guards? cafeteria workers? daycare?
The damage caused by the angry teachers have done the following in the past week:
- Disrupted and delayed flights in and out of the city
- Made traffic grind to a halt
- Forced police to re-route traffic on the fly, without notice and forced to turn one-way streets into two way
- Caused the cancellation of two major soccer matches
- Forced the replanning of a running marathon
- Caused highways to become parking lots
- Caused tourists to cancel reservations
- Caused drivers to drive the wrong way down streets
- Caused losses for cab drivers because it is faster to ride a bike or walk
The situation will get worse because another protest group, this one against state owned oil giants, will join forces with the teachers to be heard by the government. In Guerrero, where more than 300 schools have been shut down for two months already, leaving more than 25,000 students without classes continue to occur. Violence has also dotted the usual peaceful protesting. Protests have also spread to neighboring states like Oaxaca, and Michoacán, where teachers blocked another highway, snarling traffic. More than 70,000 teachers went on strike in southern Mexico, leaving more than one million children without classes.
For the most part, those who are not teachers caught up in the mess, are fed up with the teachers and want the President of Mexico to do so something, so far he has been silent as the country is gridlocked.
Mexico City deployed over 2000 police officers and another 2000 Federal troops to maintain traffic and other issues caused by the protesters. There is no end in sight.