Argentine teacher strike drags into third week

Thousands of Argentine teachers clad in white rallied in Buenos Aires on Wednesday as their strike over pay dragged into its third week, shutting millions of schoolchildren out of classrooms.

The strike is being observed in half of Argentina's 24 regions, preventing the start of the school year in those areas earlier this month.

The teachers are demanding a 35 percent pay hike after rejecting the government's offer of a 31 percent raise as insufficient to offset rising inflation, which experts say was at 25-30 percent last year.

"Public schools are not for sale!" the teachers cried as they marched through the city center towards the education ministry.

In Buenos Aires province, the country's most populous, about 2.5 million students have not had any classes this year.

The academic calendar in Argentina runs from March through December.