Mexico City, Mexico -- Striking teachers occupying Mexico City's iconic Zocalo square began 11th hour negotiations with authorities on Friday as scores of riot police descend on the capital's historic center intent on clearing it of protesters.
According to local media, teachers, who have occupied the Zocalo for months, were served an eviction notice to remove their huge protest encampment for historic celebrations in the capital for Mexico's Independence Day on September 16.
Many protesters have already left the Zocalo, but a group of protesters have vowed to stay put and are bracing for a showdown with authorities. Police have set a deadline of 4 PM for the protesters to leave the square.
In keeping with tradition, President Enrique Pena Nieto is scheduled to deliver Mexico's Cry of Independence from a balcony of the National Palace that looks over the Zocalo on Sunday, but the huge teachers protest had put a question mark over the plans.
Protesting teachers, most of whom are members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, are angry at Pena Nieto's reforms to introduce a universal evaluation system and change the way they would be hired, evaluated and promoted.
Mexico's record on student achievement is one of the worst among countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, despite dedicating more than a fifth of its budget to education.