Thousands of teachers protested in eastern China’s Shandong province on Monday demanding fair compensation and recognition for their services.
The estimated 4,000 community teachers gathered on Teachers’ Day, a national holiday, in front of the provincial government office building, but were prevented by police from entering the building.
Officials agreed, however, to bring a resolution to the crisis by holding talks with the teachers’ representatives.
The senior teachers have been campaigning for years for salaries and compensation that were due to them for relief duties they performed while serving in rural areas decades ago.
“By 6 a.m. we gathered in front of the provincial government office building,” a protester told RFA’s Mandarin service from the scene of the protest, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The authorities dispatched about a dozen armed police cruisers to the scene, which blocked our way to the main gates.”
“We shouted slogans and waved placards written with our requests.”
Four provincial government officials emerged from the building to speak to the teachers’ representatives in a bid to negotiate a solution.
The petition "paid off in the afternoon, when our representatives got the chance to negotiate a solution with officials,” said a teacher surnamed Geng.
He said the protesting teachers dispersed peacefully after the authorities promised to issue a “document” to address the problem.
Many other community teachers who planned to join the protest were stopped along the way, some violently, according to a teacher with the surname Zhang.
Zhang said that officials tried to drag one elderly teacher out of a bus heading for the protests but that the other passengers fended off the move.
“There is a teacher named Zhang Yong, now in her late 60s. She was spotted by local government officials on a bus heading for the scene of the rally.”
“The officials tried to pull her off the bus, but we fought with them. Finally, Zhang Yong made to the place of the protest,” he added.
Reported by Fang Yuan for RFA’s Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Ping Chen.