Striking Puerto Rican Students Face Police Brutality

The following message was forwarded from ISE Associate Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero. For more background on the situation in Puerto Rico, please visit Carmelo’s blog:

Jan. 28th, 2011

Dear Friends,

Levels of violence used against Puerto Rican non-violent striking students have risen exponentially. I strongly urge you to open the photos and videos of yesterday’s actions, brought to you by the incredible press people of Puerto Rico, who were also subject to direct police threats of  cameras taken. Good friends of the press were physically attacked, just as the students were. Even though some of the videos are in Spanish, the videos and photos speak for themselves.

Last week during a press conference the students called on all sectors of society to participate in the civil disobedience in solidarity.  Today the professors of the University held a conference showing photos and showing the rubber bullets used on the students as they took  to peacefully blockading the streets after protesting in front of the capitol in Old San Juan, yesterday.

I want to reiterate the call of the students, that we all join them, that our presence stop the outrageous violence leveled against them. I call on the ecumenical religious communities come forward, the artists, the parents, the  unions, the international communities, all of us join them as they  strike for an affordable education, which is a human right, not a privilege! Call the students to ask how you can help.,    Check web sites for phone contact info.

On Wed. Jan. 19th, I was arrested with Sister Elizabeth Concepcion of the Community of Jesus the Mediator and with Nydia Diaz, three older women, in solidarity with nearly 200 arrested students as of yesterday.  I’ve been witness to and recipient of the violence used against the striking students of the UPR (University of Puerto Rico), who’ve been demanding the $800 annual tuition increase be dropped.

Mary Anne Grady Flores
Ithaca Catholic Worker

“The University of Puerto Rico serves about 65,000 students on 11 campuses, and is the largest institution of higher learning in the Caribbean, the most important center of research in Puerto Rico with millions in scientific funding, and the largest Hispanic-serving university in the United States (since Puerto Rico is technically a U.S. Territory).

–Maritza Stanchich/ Huffington Post.

One Reply to “Striking Puerto Rican Students Face Police Brutality”

  1. I am a student at the UPR, studying to get a Masters in Social Work. Are you living in San Juan? I will return mid august for classes and would like to meet you! From my experience, the church is hesitant to get too involved as they see some students being violent. The ecumenical church did hold a peace vigil a few weeks after the riots. Every time the students become slightly violent, the church backs away from supporting them. It is a difficult situation. Feel free to email me back. Perhaps I can contribute to whatever work you might be involved in at the UPR. – Kelly

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