Fears of  massive student protests coordinated with an upcoming general strike have led the University of Puerto Rico to shut all eleven of its campuses for an entire week.

The Puerto Rican government announced plans late last month to lay off sixteen thousand government workers in an attempt to close a $3 billion budget deficit. Since the announcement, students and labor have taken a number of protest actions, with student strikes shuttering several UPR campuses in recent weeks.

Fearing similar actions in the lead-up to an island-wide general strike slated for Thursday, and hoping to “calm things down and to allow the university community to think peacefully and constructively about the problems facing Puerto Rico,” the university’s president announced a weeklong system-wide “recess” beginning on Monday.

October 15 update, 11:15 am | A hundred thousand protesters are expected to participate in this morning’s largest rally in support of the Puerto Rican general strike.

11:25 am | Reports from Twitter, citing local news coverage, say that students from the University of Puerto Rico’s school of law have marched onto the Luis A. Ferré Expressway, a major highway into San Juan, shutting it down. Follow #ParoPR for Twitter coverage of the day’s events, most of it in Spanish.

October 16 update | Students occupied the Luis A. Ferré Expressway for eight hours yesterday, maintaining their position long after the primary protest march had ended. They were eventually convinced to disperse after a personal appeal from the elderly Puerto Rican nationalist Rafael Cancel Miranda. [Spanish language news report here, Google automatic translation here.]