From the Labor Commission of the CPUSA, updates, information, news, analysis, and organizing materials in solidarity with workers of the world.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hundreds of Thousands of Puerto Rican Workers, Faith Leaders, Students and Citizens in General Strike today

National March Will Protest Massive Cuts in Essential Public Services; Republican Administration Under Investigation for Civil Rights Violations Against High School Students

WASHINGTON - October 14 - As Puerto Rico struggles with a 17 percent unemployment rate, Republican Governor Luis Fortuno is pushing forward with his plan to lay off more than 17,000 state government employees. The Governor has targeted government employees who provide critical public services to children, seniors and the poor. Since the Governor announced the cuts, thousands of workers and citizens have engaged in spontaneous acts of civil disobedience.

Tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican workers, faith leaders, students and citizens will unite in Hato Ray to peacefully protest the planned cuts in essential public services. Governor Fortuno has threatened to charge citizens with "terrorism" if they take part in the planned march.

One-Day National Strike and Peaceful Protest

10:00 A.M., Thursday, October 15, 2009

Labor movement and civil society organizations

Plaza Las Americas
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico

EDITOR NOTE: Groups are gathering in seven locations a mile north, east, west and south of the main site. They will march simultaneously to the meeting point beginning at 10:00 a.m. People from other towns will go directly to the main site.

Here are the facts about recent events in Puerto Rico:

* On September 25, the Fortuno administration announced it was cutting the jobs of 17,000 schoolteachers, social workers, healthcare workers and other public employees, effective this November 6.

* These lay offs are in addition to the 7,800 workers who were laid off by Governor Fortuno's administration last spring, bringing the total number to nearly 25,000 state government employees.

* In recent days, thousands of university students, workers, faith leaders and citizens have demonstrated, marched and held vigils in support of the working women and men who provide critical public services. Men and women have been threatened, physically attacked, and falsely arrested in some cases.

* On Friday, October 9, students at a high school in Canovanas, Puerto Rico protested the Governor's visit to a nearby public housing project. The protest ended in violence when police invaded the school, arresting teachers and students. Reports from El Nuevo Dia and other outlets show students being physically attacked and arrested on the spot. At least two students were seriously injured and nine were reportedly arrested.

* On Saturday, October 10, the Puerto Rican Civil Rights Commission announced it would investigate police in Canovanas for their actions.

* Later the same day, the Governor threatened to charge Puerto Rican citizens with "terrorism" if they take part in the national march planned for Thursday, October 15.
Additional information on the devastating effects of cuts to critical safety net services is available.

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