[News] Puerto Rico - Río Piedras chancellor blames CRE for violence

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 13 11:51:53 EST 2011

Río Piedras chancellor blames CRE for violence

Stops short of accusing them on specific charges

January 13, 2011

by Juan A. Hernandez

<mailto:jhernandez at prdailysun.net>jhernandez at prdailysun.net

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Río Piedras campus chancellor Ana R. Guadalupe 
blamed members of the Student Representation 
Committee (CRE for its Spanish acronym) for the 
violent acts of Tuesday at the University of Puerto Rico’s main campus.

“At this very moment CRE is the author, enabler 
and coordinator of the violent acts within campus,” said Guadalupe.

“I will not meet with students who make use of 
intimidation, destroy public property or assault 
[other] students and professors, and  justify 
these acts as a valid way to be heard,” added the chancellor.

But Guadalupe stopped short of specifically 
accusing the 14 student members of the CRE of 
intimidating and assaulting other students and 
professors, and/or destroying any university 
property. When confronted whether she was 
specifically accusing the students or not, Guadalupe recanted.

“These students are saying that the Río Piedras 
campus is on strike, and in some cases some of 
them have said the [student] strike continues, 
that no classes are in session and that they will 
make use of the necessary means for the strike to 
continue,” Guadalupe said, carefully avoiding to 
accuse the students of any act of violence.

A group of hooded men, presumably university 
students, entered several classrooms and broke 
windows, overturned desks and chairs, and pushed 
students out during the first day of classes 
after the Christmas recess. The incident took 
place after a public event commemorating the 
birth of Puerto Rican sociologist, writer, 
philosopher and patriot Eugenio María De Hostos 
in front of his bust on the front lawn of the campus.
But despite the heavy presence of police officers 
on campus,  no arrests were made during or after the incident.

Arrests for distributing flyers

Wednesday morning a group of university students 
distributing flyers along the hallways of the 
Humanities Department of the UPR were harassed 
and arrested by police officers on charges of 
“preventing a meeting and obstructing justice.”

According to witnesses, the group was proceeding 
in an orderly manner and had asked professors to 
allow them to address their classes briefly to 
explain their reasons for the strike.

“Everything was OK until they [the police] 
appeared out of nowhere and started pushing us 
out. Some of us fell down a staircase,” said one 
of the students distributing the flyers.

According to a written statement distributed by 
the police, nine students -- five males and four 
females -- were arrested for “preventing a meeting and obstructing justice.”

By noon, the arrested students had been taken to 
the West Hato Rey Police Station, where more than 
100 UPR students were staging a demonstration in 
support of their fellow students. The 
demonstration blocked traffic on Eleanor 
Roosevelt Avenue for a little over an hour.
The students returned to campus and continued 
distributing the same flyers, this time in the 
Natural Sciences Department and the School of Architecture.

A little after 4 p.m., and after they had 
completed their rounds, well over a 100 students 
marched along the main street of the campus in 
silence. Some 12 motorcycle police and several 
patrol cars followed them at a distance.

As the students advanced, they continue handing 
out their flyers to other students and university 
employees, who greeted them and urged them to 
continue their struggle against the imposition of 
the $800 special fee. The students also offered 
their flyers to police officers along the way, 
with a few of them accepting the document.

The march  ended in an impromptu demonstration on 
Ponce de León Avenue, in front of the main gates of the university.
  After 7 p.m. Wednesday, the arrested students 
were released from police custody 
when  prosecutors Fernando Chalas and Betzaida 
Quiñones determined there was not enough evidence 
to sustain any charges against them.

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