April 15, Teacher’s Day (Dia del Maestro), was a hive of activity in downtown Guadalajara.
Not only did non-conformist teachers take to the streets to express their continued displeasure at the polemic educational reforms passed five years ago, but the Plaza de la Liberacion was also commandeered by members of communities living on the shores of Lake Chapala, highlighting environmental hazards they say endanger the health of their families.
The protestors set up three coffins outside the entrance to the Jalisco State Congress building, bearing signs alluding to the high incidence of kidney disease and pregnancy disorders in lakeshore towns and villages such as Mezcala, San Pedro Itzican, Cuitzeo and San Juan Tecomatitlan. The protest also focused attention on Juanacatlan and El Salto, towns that lie on the Rio Santiago, one of the worst contaminated rivers in the country, that environmentalists say is polluted with many highly toxic substances, including arsenic, mercury and tungsten. Militant teachers demonstrating outside the official Dia del Maestro ceremony hosted by the state governor in the Degollado Theater extended their support to the ribereños.