The Americas

Supplies run out in southern Mexico amid teachers' protests

In this Sunday, June 19, 2016 photo, riot police are forced to fall back as they battle with protesting teachers who were blocking a federal highway in the state of Oaxaca, near the town of Nochixtlan, Mexico. The teachers are protesting against plans to overhaul the country's education system which include federally mandated teacher evaluations. (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez)

In this Sunday, June 19, 2016 photo, riot police are forced to fall back as they battle with protesting teachers who were blocking a federal highway in the state of Oaxaca, near the town of Nochixtlan, Mexico. The teachers are protesting against plans to overhaul the country's education system which include federally mandated teacher evaluations. (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez)  (The Associated Press)

Business leaders and government officials say supplies of gasoline, food and other goods are running out in southern Mexico because protesting teachers have blockaded key highways.

Tourism is one of the key economic activities in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas and it's been hit severely by the protests. The Interior Department said late Tuesday that only about 5 percent of hotel rooms in the colonial city of Oaxaca were occupied.

The department said there were severe shortages of food and medicine, especially in remote villages.

It said there have been heavy losses among business, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The country's National Human Rights Commission called on the protesters to stop blocking roads.

The protesters oppose new laws that require testing of teachers and weaken their unions.