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Radical Teacher’s Union Leaders In Mexico Released

Above Photo:  A striking teacher from Michoacán demonstrates in Mexico City in front of a line of police. Canadian and US teachers have organized the TriNational Coalition to Defend Public Education to support Mexican teachers’ efforts to defeat proposals to introduce standardized testing and remove job protections, which have come from USAID and private foundations promoting corporate education reform. (David Bacon)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican court allowed two leaders of a radical teachers union to leave prison Friday on a form of bail following weeks of protests by supporters over their arrests and recent education reforms that include mandatory teacher evaluations.

Attorney General Arely Gomez said the court did not absolve the men but rather freed them while legal proceedings continue. She denied on Friday that their release was politically motivated.

Protest blockades by teachers and their supporters have blocked roads and rail lines for weeks, mainly in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Michoacan, causing millions of dollars in losses for business and commerce.

Prosecutors arrested the two leaders in June on a variety of charges, including accusations that some leaders had set up an illegal financial network to fund protests and line their own pockets.

The union had, at the time, effectively controlled the payroll of teachers in Oaxaca state.

Union officials allegedly demanded a 3.5 percent cut of unionized teachers’ purchases at local businesses and took that out of members’ paychecks.

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