Teacher protests force Mexico leader to move speech

TEACHERS' PROTEST. Teachers protest and block Reforma avenue to protest against the education reform legislation, in Mexico City on August 28, 2013. AFP/Ronaldo Schemidt

TEACHERS' PROTEST. Teachers protest and block Reforma avenue to protest against the education reform legislation, in Mexico City on August 28, 2013.

AFP/Ronaldo Schemidt

MEXICO CITY, Mexico - Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto decided Thursday, August 29, to change the date of his first state of the nation address due to protests by teachers angered at his education reform plan.

Peña Nieto was originally scheduled to speak on Sunday, September 1, but his office announced that he will deliver the speech at his presidential residence of Los Pinos on Monday, September 2.

Thousands of teachers have held protests in the past week, snarling traffic, blocking access to the airport and forcing lawmakers to meet in a convention center after surrounding Congress. Two weekend soccer league games were postponed.

Eduardo Sanchez, the government's security spokesman, told Radio Formula that the speech was moved to Monday to avoid "further disrupting life in Mexico City" since the speech could be "a pretext for these disturbances to continue."

The president had indicated Wednesday, August 28, that he had canceled a trip to Turkey because he wanted to be "very attentive" to the legislative agenda and that he would also move his speech date.

Congress approved constitutional changes to the education system earlier this year and must now vote on specific laws to implement the changes, which include mandatory evaluations of teachers that the protesters oppose. - Rappler.com