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!”