Truck slams into Mexico teachers' protest; 7 dead

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Associated Press

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 13 at 7:36 PM

MORELIA, Mexico (AP) — A tanker truck carrying tar slammed into a highway toll booth that had been seized by protesting teachers Thursday, killing seven people and injuring 14, authorities in the western state of Michoacan said.

State prosecutors' spokesman Alejandro Arellano said the accident occurred on a highway west of the state capital, Morelia.

Most of the dead and injured were believed to be teachers whose union has been holding protests in the state but authorities hadn't confirmed their identities, Arellano said.

Union member Jorge Cazares said six victims so far had been identified by colleagues as junior high school teachers in the towns of Paracho and Santa Cruz Tanaco.

Teachers have been protesting in Michoacan over educational reforms that would reduce union power in hiring decisions and establish teacher evaluations.

Protesters in Mexico often seize highway toll booths, and sometimes demand drivers pay a small sum to drive through without paying a toll.

Union leader Juan Jose Ortega Madrigal called on authorities to do a thorough investigation and demanded that the transportation company that owned the truck pay for funerals and medical expenses.

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