Demonstrating in Christchurch Protesters converged on the education department in Christchurch, New Zealand today Today's protest was the latest chapter in the fight against school closures and mergers in Christchurch, New Zealand following the devastation caused by the 2011 earthquake. Teachers had voted overwhelmingly to strike today against the plans, but the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) called off the strike when the government promised to consult with educators about the plans. Today's announcement of seven closures and twelve mergers however has caused huge anger in the town. Teachers and communities believe that they are being used as guinea pigs for the introduction of charter schools in New Zealand, on the US model. The natural disaster has caused a convenient pretext to re-organise education on privatised neo-liberal lines - much as it did in New Orleans and Haiti for example. Similar struggles are going on across the US at the moment, particularly in Chicago where parents and teachers are fighting the closure of many schools in the town and the setting up of new charter schools.