Mass protests are to be held tomorrow, November 20th across the US and Mexico as Mexicans take part in a general strike to demand the return of 43 students teachers abducted by armed police in Guerrero province in the south of the country. This is the latest stage of weeks of protest actions including mass demonstrations, roadblocks, the occupation of airports and the burning of government offices in Iguala and the state capital where the abductions took place. The violence of the state continues, with two students shot by police at the Autonomous University of Mexico, as they planned actions for November 20th.

A caravan including relatives and friends of the young students who are still missing has set off from Guerrero and will reach Mexico City tomorrow. The main slogan of the protest is vivos se los llevaran, vivos los queremos (they were taken alive, we want them back alive) as their parents and comrades refuse to accept the official version of events that the students were massacred and burned. They accuse the government of making no effort to find the students and indeed being complicit in their disappearance.

There have been solidarity actions across the world but most significantly in the US, Mexico's neighbour, cheerleader for President Pena Nieto and the provider of billions of dollars to the Mexican government for the so-called war on drugs. Commentators say this 'war', which has cost the lives of at least 100,000 Mexicans is much more about stifling opposition to extractive and other plans of big business in the country. ' The money has been used to militarize the country and create a new model for repression against youth and against opposition', according to expert Laura Carlsen

This website has been following the disappearance of the student teachers since it happened on September 26th. This is not only because we are deeply distressed and concerned about the fate of our young colleagues but because this abduction has huge significance for the fight against neoliberal education 'reform' globally. It is no accident that the targets for the police were students at an Escuela Normal - one of many across Mexico which serve rural and low income young people and train them to become teachers. These schools have a long tradition of fighting for democratic education and against the kind of 'reform' which is being forced through by Nieto. Such reform is being advocated globally by the World Bank and most recently in Latin America with its report which attacks teachers in the region as being 'the main constraint' on education and calls on governments to 'weed out' 'poor' teachers and confront teaching unions where necessary in pursuit of such 'reform.'

Mexican teachers and student teachers are at the cruellest sharp end of the attempts to force education 'reform' on communities. In response to all these attacks, people are coming out on the streets in their millions, defying the brutal state forces, demanding the resignation of Nieto and the return of the young students.