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6 People Killed As Police Crack Down On Teachers' Protest In Mexico

More than 100 people have also been injured, and many say police reacted with unnecessary violence to quell protesters.

Posted on June 20, 2016, at 7:27 a.m. ET

Six people have died after police opened fire on teachers protesting in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Stringer / Reuters

More than 100 people, including police officers, were injured during the protests, which kicked off last week following the arrest of two high-profile union leaders, the BBC reported.

Str / AFP / Getty Images

The two CNTE union leaders were arrested on corruption charges but members say their arrests were politically motivated.

Since the arrests, members of the teaching union, which has a history of radical activism, have been blocking roads in southern Mexico.

The protesters are also opposed to the mandatory testing of teachers as part of Mexico's sweeping education reform.

Str / AFP / Getty Images

Speaking Sunday night, Oaxaca state Gov. Gabino Cue said 53 civilians, 41 federal police agents, and 14 state police agents were injured.

Str / AFP / Getty Images

The Associated Press reported that journalists had seen police firing on protesters. Galindo admitted he had sent in some officers with guns after agents came under fire.

"The police obligation is to protect the population," he said.

Protesting for education reform should not end in police brutality and senseless killing. Major news outlets should be acknowledging #Oaxaca

Tourists: #Oaxaca is temporarily closed & will open as soon as there is justice.

This isn't a 'clash', it's an act of repression and excessive use of force against the people of #Oaxaca #Nochixtlan

Mexican police filmed shooting teargas at homes #Nochixtlan

Oaxaca NGO Codigo DH released a statement on behalf of more than 80 local charities condemning the violence.

Codigo DH / Via

In the letter, the organizations said:

"Today, June 19, we were witnesses of the extremely violent procedure of the Mexican State when they repressed the teaching staff and the organized society resisting on diverse areas of the Oaxaca state, including Tehuantepec Isthmus, Nochixtlán, and the city of Oaxaca.

"As a result of the excessive use of force, at least six people died and dozens have been hurt and arrested. As of now, the whereabouts of the people apprehended are unknown, as is the total number of people dead or hurt. Medical attention has not been guaranteed and the civil population has had to create attention posts to take care of the injured, not being able to keep up with it.

"We fear that particularly violent actions will take place in the city of Oaxaca tonight. Today we have witnessed the arrival to the city of many planes of the Policía Federal and the city’s Gendarmería and the tension gets more palpable every minute."

Witnesses have accused police of firing tear gas into homes and said cell phone signals have been blocked to stop civilians from communicating.

Stringer / Reuters

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.