By Natalia A. Bonilla Berrios
SAN JUAN — The time for separate protests is over. At least, that’s the sentiment that the University of Puerto Rico Workers’ Syndicate, the Puerto Rican Worker’s Federation and the Teacher’s Federation have expressed.
The three organizations have called for a national strike of 24 hours on May 18th in support of the University of Puerto Rico’s (URP) students’ strike which already has hit its 26th day.
Nevertheless, according to Primerahora.com, Rafael Feliciano, president of the Teacher’s Federation, has said that its organization will call all teachers to mobilize at the Rio Piedras Campus if the students inside the campus are evicted.
Also, the president of the Worker’s Federation has said that all gates will be reinforced with protesters on Monday, May 17 and that the national strike will take place on Tuesday, May 18.
If this national strike happens, it will be the next largest protest since the national strike held on October 15th, 2009 against the government’s approval of Law 7, which allows for the dismissal of over 30,000 employees in the public sector.
Artists and community leaders have shown their support for the UPR students’ strike.
The first big endorsement came from Puerto Rican Ricky Martin, who after expressing his support via Twitter, sent the students a video transmitted at the Concert “Que vivan los estudiantes” last April 28th.
RenÃ© PÃ©rez, also known as “Resident” of Calle 13 group, said, “I came to tell the students that they are not alone. The artistic ‘class’ currently knows what’s happening here. If this gets worse, they are going to take a stand because they (the UPR’s administration) need to listen to the students.”
Meanwhile, Spanish singer Joaquin Sabina who will be gave a concert in Puerto Rico, told Inter News Service that he believed that “between the students and the police, I know very well with whom I must be.”
Learn more about Natalia
Natalia A. Bonilla Berrios is a junior at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) majoring in Journalism and minoring in Political Science, International Relations. Natalia has a 3.90 GPA.
She was the former president of the UPR student chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, a member of the National Society of Collegiates and Scholars and was selected for the ‘Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges’ program, during her freshman year.
In addition, she has worked as an intern reporter for DiÃ¡logo Digital, Puerto Rican Center of Investigative Journalism, served as a staff writer for ParÃ©ntesis newspaper, and as a volunteer reporter for IDentidad magazine.
Bonilla has served as student representative for the Freedom of the Press Center of Puerto Rico and has been selected as one of the UWIRE’s Top 100 Student Journalists of 2009.
She was selected for the Student Camp at Unity 2008, the quadrennial Journalists of Color Convention and also, as a volunteer for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy.