Thousands of teachers protested in the Guatemalan capital on Thursday to demand more resources for education.

Teachers from the country's 22 provinces were called out to protest by the ANM and Steg unions.

Their main demand is for Congress to appropriate more funds for education, ANM chief Joviel Acevedo told reporters.

While President Otto Perez Molina proposed a budget of 70.56 billion quetzales ($9 billion) for this year, Congress decided to keep government spending at 2013 levels.

Education spending last year was $1.37 billion, or 16 percent of the budget.

"The funds for education should be the highest and amount to 35 percent of the budget because an educated country develops," said one of the teachers participating in Thursday's march.

The teachers also asked the government to fulfill the collective bargaining agreement, which includes a seniority-linked pay increase, and to provide resources for school meals, school supplies and teaching materials.

"We don't want there to be schools without programs or students without food," said Steg leader Eduardo Herrera.

The educators are not ruling out adopting other measures if their demands are not met, including blocking roadways, according to the organizers of Thursday's march.

The Guatemalan government announced Thursday that it had asked Congress for an "urgent" reform of the 2014 budget law to increase the budget by $187.5 million with an eye toward fulfilling commitments for higher salaries in the health and education sectors.

The government needs the votes of at least 80 of the 158 members of Congress to get the budget increase approved and, legislative sources say, it currently has the support of only 50 lawmakers.

Perez Molina on Thursday told reporters that in the coming hours more than $38.26 million will transferred to the education budget to be used for repairs and teaching materials.

The funds "are not for the entire year but will serve to allow the programs to be able to function," he said. EFE