Teachers stage violent protest at Mexican Congress

Mexico City, Aug 20 (EFE).- A group of teachers opposed to educational reforms clashed with police and engaged in acts of vandalism at the seat of Congress in Mexico City, leaving about a dozen educators and officers injured, officials said Tuesday.

The incident occurred Monday night at the San Lazaro Palace.

The teachers should "change their attitude and work for dialogue to reach an understanding, harmony and agreements," the lower house of Congress said in a statement.

The clashes started just after 9:00 p.m. Monday when some of the approximately 2,000 CNTE teachers union members who had gathered outside the building slipped inside, a Federal District Public Safety Secretariat spokesman told Efe.

"There was aggression" on the part of the teachers, the police spokesman said.

Several protesters made it to the basement parking garage, where they vandalized vehicles and fought with the Federal Police officers responsible for security inside the building.

"Blows were exchanged with the security detail," the police spokesman said, adding that officers posted outside the building prevented other demonstrators from entering.

The lower house's Education Committee is debating legal changes that would open the way for implementation of the constitutional reforms promulgated on Feb. 25.

Lawmakers approved changes to the General Professional Teaching Service Law, the National Institute for the Evaluation of Education Law and reforms of the General Education Law.

The education agenda will be taken up by the special session of the Chamber of Deputies that begins Wednesday and runs until Friday.