Teachers in Mexico continued to protest en masse on Friday and threatened to boycott the nation's elections scheduled for this weekend. Across the country, members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers union, or CNTE, stormed political parties' headquarters, vandalized polling locations and crowded streets to express their discontent with the government and recent education reform legislation, CNN reported.
There were at least four demonstrations scheduled in Mexico City on Friday, and others broke out, as the day wore on, Crónica reported. Hundreds of teachers forced their way into the offices of political parties like the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Chiapas and Guerrero states, burning ballots, throwing firecrackers and destroying furniture, according to CNN. They were also blocking several Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) gas facilities in Oaxaca.
— Revolution News (@NewsRevo) June 5, 2015
Since last week, the teachers have been protesting education reform measures passed under President Enrique Peña Nieto. They believe the legislation threatens their jobs, taking particular issue with a provision that requires teacher evaluations -- a requirement the government recently suspended in an effort to quell the protests. But the teachers want the government to repeal the law completely, Telesur reported.
The teachers weren't the only ones demonstrating ahead of the elections. Guerrero has seen separate protests over the 43 students missing in the country since September.
"The boycotts will have a big impact,” Mexico violence expert Raul Benitez told the Global Post. “Even though there is not that many people involved, it has an effect across the country. People get scared to go out and vote and that creates a feeling of ungovernability. This feeds into a wider crisis of human rights abuses and other problems in Mexico.”
— Red Informativa Oax. (@RedOax) June 5, 2015
Electoral adviser Benito Nacif Hernandez asked CNTE protesters to let the elections proceed, Terra reported. He urged them to recall the words of past president Benito Juarez, who said, "Between individuals, as between nations, peace means respect for the rights of others." Respecting this right, Nacif said, "does not mean giving up their cause and their struggle. And if they really believe in them, they must also believe in the possibility of realizing through peaceful means."