Teachers Protest for Pay Increase in Guatemala

May 4, 2007

GUATEMALA CITY – At least 21 teachers were arrested by security forces as they blocked an important highway in southern Guatemala April 25 to pressure the government to give them a pay hike and accede to other demands put forward by their union.

National Civil Police Director Julio Hernández told reporters that the teachers were arrested when they refused to open the roadway leading to Puerto Quetzal, some 90 kilometers south of the capital.

“The arrested people were taken to the police station and placed at the disposition of the courts,” Hernández said.

According to reports by local radio, thousands of striking teachers halted the flow of traffic on more than 20 stretches of roads, mainly in the western and northeastern parts of the country, preventing vehicles from reaching the border with Mexico.

Some 85% of the more than 90,000 public school teachers have been on strike since last week to demand a 16% salary increase, as well as teaching material and food for students.

 

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