Colombian Students still in Strike

Bogota, Oct 18. -Jairo Rodriguez, general secretary of the Colombian University Students Federation (FEU) said on Monday that students will keep on strike for an indefinite period until the government withdraws a reform of the local education system.Rodriguez told Prensa Latina that on October 20 and 26, mass demonstrations will take place all over the country to protest against the government's initiative to privatize schools.

Rodriguez, who is a member of the Broad National Students Table (MANE) of Colombia, added that in addition to these two national demonstrations, other mobilizations and strikes will take place in universities.

He said these mobilizations have a peaceful spirit and lamented the incidents reported in Bogota on October 12, which, he said, are part of a strategy to delegitimize the mobilizations and stigmatize the Colombian university students' movement.

"Students clearly see that the reform is going towards the privatization of higher education," Rodriguez said.

Meanwhile, the government insists that despite the protests, it will not withdraw the draft bill, which was submitted to the National Congress. The students in private universities and workers from different sectors have also joined the protests, he said.

"We have always wanted what is happening now: the existence of a single students' movement in Colombia, where we all are one," said Juan Sebastian Lopez, from Universidad Externado de Colombia. (Prensa Latina)