Puerto Rican Teachers’ May Day Strike Brutalized By Police: “We resisted. We will prevail!”

In the spirit of May Day, International Workers Day, the unionized educators of Puerto Rico went out on strike against mass school closures, layoffs, and the school privatization. These members of the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico were joined by students and community members, as a sea of tens of thousands of people wearing red shirts rallied in the capital.

This beautiful display of resistance to disaster capitalist schooling policies that have been exported by the U.S. was met with a grotesque display of police brutality. Puerto Rican cops bombarded protesters with rubber bullets and teargas—even gassing the children of teachers (see photos below). They illegally arrested people and brutalized others.

As Mercedes Martinez, the president of Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico, told me today,

Today was a day of pure struggle. I just got home from going to the police stations to check on our people. They sent over 1,000 police to intimidate the protest. People are hurt and in the hospital. It was brutal. They chased students to their homes, entered without warrants, and arrested them. This is the class struggle.

The police arrested at least these twenty students at the May Day rally and teachers are demanding their release:

Rocío Rodríguez, Jeffrey Carrasquillo, Nomar López, Joel Gasser, Jean Pérez, Angélica Questell, Alfonso Questell, Manfred Pérez, Gabriel González, Jonaseph Guzmán, Erimar Landrón, Luis Rodríguez, Jeziel Echevarría, Frank Seguí, Elvin Torres, Ediel Robles, Hamid Burgos, Luis Pérez, Juan Figueroa, Luis A Pacheco.

Below are the photos that Mercedes sent to me of the protests and the police brutality. You can support the teachers’ struggle by sharing this article or sending me your statement or photo of solidarity and I will pass them on to Mercedes.

Mercedes ended my conversation with her today by saying, “We resisted. We will prevail!”

Tens of thousands of teachers, students, parents and their supports rally on May Day to defend public education
This man was selling water during the protest and police shot him with rubber bullets





Protestor pepper sprayed by police
A teacher and her children were teargassed


13 thoughts on “Puerto Rican Teachers’ May Day Strike Brutalized By Police: “We resisted. We will prevail!”

  1. Beth Chesnut Fillingim

    This is horrible! The police are brutal! These poor people! Free the students! Seriously, arrested for supporting their teachers!?! Just disgusting!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Margarita Andino

      I am appalled by this. I live in San Francisco Ca getting ready to deliver a 40 ft container to my jente and I see that the Police Brutality is no better then here! What’s going on! Is this how bad our Governor wants the Island that they are now attacking the people that are still going through Chaos after Hurricane Maria? Shame on Governor of Puerto Rico for falling with this corrupt interference of Police Brutality !!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy Lawner

    Outrageous and unacceptable. Puerto Rico is part of the USA. Police need to abide by the laws that they are supposed to uphold. They need sensitivity training. Teachers have the right to peacefully protest.


    1. Judith

      Oh, please, like the police don’t teargas and brutalize protesters in the US. The US of A where all these brutality lessons are learned and patterned after. Yes to the right to protest, not because we are part of the US, but because it’s right.


  3. Maria Colon

    They are only expressing what’s wrong with the system these police officers should be going after criminals drug dealers murderers and rapists not teachers students and their parents protesting the rights of getting a better education of schools being closed what’s wrong with this picture I’m Puerto Rican and I oppose this shame shame on them


  4. Pingback: LabourNet Germany [1. Mai 2018] Lehrerinnen und Lehrer auf Puerto Rico demonstrieren am 1. Mai gegen die Privatsierung des Bildungswesens – durch Stadtviertel, die unter Tränengaswolken verschwanden… » LabourNet Germany

  5. The capitalists look for the excuse, the disaster, the human suffering as an opportunity to slither in and take over. They did it in New Orleans with disastrous results. Capitalists won’t care about children until their picture appears on a dollar bill.


  6. Pingback: “Proving the impossible”: Teacher’s union president Mercedes Martinez on the mass uprising for justice in Puerto Rico – I AM AN EDUCATOR

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