What was announced as a protest march of Education Workers of Valladolid, to demand the dismissal of a public official, turned out to be an act of protest with 80% of teachers from Merida and 20% from the East of the State, according to the same organizers, of the approximately 40 participants who expressed their rejection against the new Social Security Law of the State, and upon not having a response to their demands threatened to close the entrance to the International Airport of Merida shortly.
Pedro Quijano, the representative of the Frente Campesino, also took the opportunity to join the protests and announced that more than one thousand workers will march from Santiago Park to the main square, (although he did not specify when) he referred to the march called by the National Workers Union and the Frente Amplio Unitario as another sign that they are continuing their struggle against the injustices committed by the government in Yucatán.
Teachers’ groups, including the Education Support and Assistance Personnel (Paaes), would march on Paseo de Montejo to the Government Palace to demand the dismissal of Daniel Hoyos Figueroa, Director of Planning of the State General Secretariat of Education, whom they accuse of corruption, according to protest organizer Limber Santoyo Arzápalo, who added that they would close the street and would not release it until their demands were resolved.
Mauricio Vila, absent for a tour
The march was called to start at 9:00 a.m. from the Monumento a la Patria, but by 9:30 a.m. there were only about 10 people in attendance: 30 there were barely around 10 people, and mostly from Mérida, including María Eugenia Aranda Echeverría representing the Coalición de Trabajadores del Estado de Yucatán (Cotrey), Melchor Ortega Valdez (Paaes), Lorena Rosel Novelo, from Acción Docente, Pedro Quijano from Frente Campesino, and around 10 o’clock Santoyo Arzápalo from Valladolid arrived.
With between 30 or 40 people already gathered Santoyo Arzápalo said, “we are not many but there is quality“, to justify the low attendance and to start with those who were there shortly after 10 o’clock when they crossed to the Monumento a la Patria where they offered a press conference from where the leader apologized to the Meridanos for coming to take their streets, but they considered it necessary so that their demands would be heard.
Amid shouts of “Libo no es amigo“, referring to Liborio Vidal Aguilar, State Secretary of Education, the leader recalled that since last December they had asked the governor in Valladolid to attend to them and although he told them he would do so, to this day they are still waiting for him to receive them to present their disagreements, to which they have now added the demand for the dismissal of Hoyos Figueroa, and his list of the effects on education workers of the new Social Security Law.
He anticipated that for the third time they will go to the Government Palace to present their requests in writing, and surely they will only send their advisors to give them the run-around, without giving them a solution, as in fact happened.
The 40 or so protesters began the march on Paseo de Montejo, led by two minors carrying a banner demanding decent salaries and repeal of the new Social Security Law, on their way to the Government Palace, escorted by police who made way for their safety, and chanting along the way “Teachers fighting, they are also teaching”, “People listen, this is also your fight“, among other prayers.
At around 11 o’clock in front of the Palace where sound equipment was previously installed, at least six speakers weer used to reiterate their claims to the Governor and the State Secretary of Education, beginning by pointing out that in the last government report, they only saw a parade of “white collar criminals“, citing former Governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco and former President Rolando Zapata Bello as examples of these.
The main claims and demands were against the new Social Security Law, which they took advantage of to recall the closing of the Isstey stores, the spa, the non-authorization of retirements, suspension of payments of several of their benefits, alleged acts of corruption, as well as the refusal of an audit requested.
Blockade of the Merida airport
At 11:40 they approached the entrance to the Palace, which was already blocked by the police. Seeing the situation, Santoyo Arzápalo said, “this demonstrates the closed-mindedness of this government and the lies of the governor who says he is open to dialogue“.
Finally, the State governent accepted to receive two people, Santoyo Arzápalo and María Eugenia Aranda, who, according to what they said when they left an hour and a half later, were attended by the governor’s legal advisors and the secretary of education, whose only concrete response was that in 15 days they would be given an answer to their demands.
Before lifting the protest in front of the Palace around 1:30 p.m., María Eugenia Aranda estimated that 80% of the protesters were from Mérida, including herself, and 20% from Valladolid, where Santoyo Arzápalo returned, and she considered that in a month or a little sooner, depending on the answers given, they would organize the closing of the International Airport, to insist in their struggle.