[News] University of Puerto Rico Students Clash with Riot Police

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sun Jan 16 17:52:51 EST 2011



University of Puerto Rico Students Clash with Riot Police at University Plaza

Submitted by <http://libcom.org/user/32365>luisoyo on Jan 15 2011 02:09

UPR Students Clash with Riot Police at University Plaza
by CMI-Puerto Rico Friday, Jan. 14, 2011 at 5:38 PM
<mailto:pr at indymedia.org>pr at indymedia.org

Spanish source with photos: 
<http://pr.indymedia.org/news/2011/01/46923.php>http://pr.indymedia.org/news/2011/01/46923.php

Translator's note: For those who haven't followed, this is the next 
chapter in a nine-month-long struggle at the University of Puerto 
Rico. Since the first 60-day long strike last April, students have 
used an immense variety of tactics with a range of goals and radical 
visions just as varied. At this point, dialogue has become less and 
less of an option and both the students and the police have become 
more direct and militant in their approach. Whether or not anarchists 
and radicals would agree with their above-ground pleas for dialogue, 
their consistency and success at shutting down the university over 
and over and over (almost becoming a habit) should be inspiring.

The rumor about a possible opening of the enrollment process made its 
rounds among students since last Tuesday the 11th, the day that the 
Rio Piedras campus reinstated its strike against the $800 fee. In 
spite of the ambiguous statements made by the university 
administration to begin the enrollment process on January 13th, the 
students decided to mobilize the protest towards the University 
Plaza, where most campus administrative offices are located.

The activity began around 7am with a strategic sit-in at the main 
staircase of the building. Also, some smaller groups dispersed to 
block the elevator doors and emergency exits. Students and workers 
that wanted to enter University Plaza were greeted with dialogue and 
invited to sympathize with the cause by not entering the building.

Contrary to past demonstrations at the Plaza, the events lacked any 
form of dialogue on behalf of the security officials with students 
and observers. In fact, PR Indymedia reporters stumbled on Capitol 
Security guards that participated in the unforgettable violent events 
of the last 48 hour student strike. When photojournalists got close 
to take pictures, they quickly gave their backs to the camera. In the 
article images, you can see one of the guards who had a wrapped hand 
over what looked like a brass knuckle.

While these isolated events occurred, the private security together 
with the state police evacuated the employees and students from the 
building that had come in before the demonstration. After evacuating 
restaurant employees and the sit-in was coming to a close, the 
students decided to regroup with the rest of the contingent in the 
main room. Upon exit, the security closed the access gate. Employees 
received notices to stay within the area of the Tower and to await 
instructions.

Following evacuation, Capitol security guards began to move around 
the back of the building. Facing this possibility of attack, students 
moved to block the entrance of the emergency stairs in the back. At 
10am, the agreed time for students to end the sit-in, the organizers 
were trying to figure out a safe way to exit the building. Even then, 
the Tactical Operations unit, better known as the riot police, began 
to come in through the back emergency exit.

The students regrouped anticipating a violent attack. In a matter of 
seconds, the police began advancing down the stairs to attack the 
students. Students from the security committee made a human barrier 
to resist peacefully and the riot police began pushing on the 
students as the students pushed back. They began shooting tear gas to 
disperse and some students threw the canisters back.

Following their military dispersal, an official with a megaphone 
announced that those who wished to enroll for the semester could feel 
free to enter the building. The students exited the Plaza and formed 
a picket line blocking vehicle access to the Ponce de Leon Ave.

Some photos from article:

Sit-in: 
<http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/3.jpgj5a3lj.jpg>http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/3.jpgj5a3lj.jpg

Private security guard with brass knuckle: 
<http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/5.jpgl4poau.jpg>http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/5.jpgl4poau.jpg

Riot police attack 1: 
<http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/12.jpgzxywos.jpg>http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/12.jpgzxywos.jpg

Riot police attack 2 (headband says "UPR WITHOUT POLICE"):
<http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/14.jpgfq0y5b.jpg>http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/14.jpgfq0y5b.jpg

Tear gas (sign says "Your steroid excess limits your reasoning"):
<http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/15.jpg75gdhq.jpg>http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/15.jpg75gdhq.jpg

Picket line after sit-in:
<http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/20.jpgbkansi.jpg>http://puertorico.media.indypgh.org/uploads/2011/01/20.jpgbkansi.jpg 


For those who don't know the story behind this, or why it began, I've 
been sending articles to OccupyCA and they've kept a good log of 
English articles since April, so you should visit: 
<http://occupyca.wordpress.com/category/locale/global/puerto-rico/>http://occupyca.wordpress.com/category/locale/global/puerto-rico/ 
for lots of info.

Otherwise, the PR indymedia site (indymediapr.org) and the Desde 
Adentro blog (rojogallito.wordpress.com) both have good news, videos 
and images related to this struggle and all coming from the students 
themselves as opposed to mainstream media.




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