A section of the SNTE teachers union threatened to call an indefinite strike in all the schools of the southern state of Oaxaca if the regional government does not return to them the centers that it awarded six years ago to another local of the same union.

"If the government continues with the stupidity of knocking us around, of letting Local 59 take over, we're going on an indefinite strike," Cesar Martinez, a member of the center for press and advertising commuications at SNTE Local 22, told Efe.

The warnings came after more than 74,000 teachers took part in a day of blockading 37 highways in protest against the aggression suffered by a group of teachers, Martinez said.

Last Thursday, five teachers were seized and presumably attacked while imposing a blockade on a highway near the municipality of Mitla to protest the taking over of some 60 schools by another local of the union, one that is backed by the state government and SNTE leader Elba Esther Gordillo.

On Sunday the teachers plan to stage a "megamarch" in the state and afterwards will hold an assembly to decide if they will again call an indefinite strike.

Oaxaca is among Mexico's poorest states. EFE