Archbishop José Luis Chavez Botello of Antequera-Oaxaca, México, called for intensifying prayer for peace after clashes between authorities and a teachers' union left at least seven dead and more than 50 injured.  

Since June 11, the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico has held a series of demonstrations against the educational reforms undertaken by the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto. The protests included blocking highways connecting Mexico City and the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Chiapas and Guerrero.

The Oaxaca Department of Public Safety says that it deployed 800 officers on June 19. During the confrontation between demonstrators and authorities, at least seven people died and 51 were injured.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="es" dir="ltr">México: Choques entre policías y maestros en Oaxaca se cobran la vida de al menos 6 personas <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; RT en Español (@ActualidadRT) <a href="">June 20, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

The authorities are blaming alleged infiltrators among the demonstrators, saying "civilians, so far unidentified, fired shots against elements of public safety and the civilian population."

However, they stated that they will open investigations to "determine who is responsible for what."

According to the teachers' union, 10 people were killed, including teachers and parents.

In a statement released June 20, the Archdiocese of Antequera-Oaxaca lamented "the fatal outcome" of June 19 and expressed its solidarity "with the families of those who died and those who were injured."

Archbishop Chavez said that the Church "as an institution committed to the protection and defense of life, opened its doors to care for everyone without distinction to provide first aid for anyone who needed it."

The archbishop encouraged the faithful to provide "all our knowledge, skills and the best we have to together achieve reconciliation and peace."

More in Americas

"Let us intensify prayer at all levels," he urged, "in personal prayer, as well as in families, apostolic groups and movements, and all the communities and parishes, so that God may move the hearts of everyone and dispose us to dialogue, to understanding and to the willingness to resolve the conflict in a constructive manner, with words, gestures, agreements and actions that benefit everyone."

Starting June 21, the archbishop Saud, "I am inviting all of us to be spiritually united" so that "wherever we are, when the bells toll from all the churches and chapels we pray the Angelus at 12 noon, and at 6:00 p.m., the recitation of the Holy Rosary, preferably in the churches."

Also on Thursdays at 6:00 p.m., "let us make a Holy Hour" and at daily Mass "at 7:00 p.m. let us remember this intention."

"May the ringing of the bells at those times be a call from God to be sowers, artisans and guardians of reconciliation and peace from our family and community," he urged.

Photo credit: Frank Gaertner via