University of Puerto Rico under Siege

From Occupy California:

14 MAY 2010

HUMANITIES ACTION COMMITTEE
TO STUDENTS AND CIVILIANS WORLDWIDE

STATE OF PUERTO RICO LOCKS STUDENTS INSIDE UNIVERSITY

Just yesterday, May 13th, the students of Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico ratified the 22 day strike with an evident majority of votes in favor at a General Assembly that was proposed and organized by the institution’s own administration. Today, that same administration backed with full government support have intensified and reinforced their repressive schemes against the student movement stepping over our constitutional right to protest. We condemn rector Ana Guadalupe’s decision to activate the police forces against us and we reiterate yesterday’s vote demanding her resignation as well as president Jose Ramón de la Torre’s. Since 4am there has been heavy police presence around the campus; different police units have been brought to guard all possible entrances and to restrict access of students and those in solidarity. We wish to publicly alert the national and international media that up until now they have prohibited not only the entrance of civilians, but also, and more alarming, the entry of food donations and supplies needed by the hundreds of students that are currently occupying the campus. The students that reside on campus are being forced to move out and are being threatened with the non-renewal of housing contracts. We also expect water and electricity on campus to be cut off by 1:00pm.

We exhort all students, professors, workers and civilians; every member of every community, to surround the university gates as they have done themselves. We exhort everybody’s presence here today; we need everyone’s solidarity and support if we are to endure this struggle. We want to let the administration know that their attempts to intimidate have been not only repressive but exaggerated and unnecessary. We will not allow that the democracy of the university’s administration proclaims to practice be arbitrary and partial. Those who participated in the Students’ General Assembly yesterday, experienced a real democratic process in action. The assembly is sovereign and in assembly we voted to continue the strike. We are here to defend the right of all Puerto Rican students to a public education and here we will remain until the administration decides to cooperate and negotiate.

We need everyone’s solidarity and support. Ten out of eleven campuses that make up the UPR system have declared themselves on strike. All are participating in the same struggle. The same struggle being fought all over the World.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Humanities Action Committee
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus

More

  • A National Strike has been called for Tuesday, May 18th!
  • photos:

  • Video of the aftermath of a student being beat after trying to get onto campus:

***

From the Facebook page for the May 18 solidarity protest in NYC:

On the 22st day (May 14th) of the University of Puerto Rico student strike: The situation in Puerto Rico has intensified. Over the last few days the university students have demonstrated heroic & militant resistance. Yesterday, at a huge assembly of students at the PR Convention Center, students overwhelmingly decided to to step up the 22-day takeover/strike at the University of PR despite intimidation & harassment attempts by the university administration.

The colonial government has responded with intolerance and repressive police tactics. On this day the riot police squad was mobilized against the students! Water has been cut off to the Rio Piedras campus, the campus dorms have been evacuated, and folks have been arrested for simply trying to pass water & food through the fences to the striking students. The father of a striking student who was bringing food and water was beaten and then arrested.

Fortunately, the blockade was broken when hundreds of professors, parents, and supporters began to arrive with water and bags of food, which they successfully tossed over the fence and over the heads of the cops, unable to stop them in front of the TV cameras. In the face of this repression, hundreds of parents, workers, community leaders and concerned have joined the picket lines (at all the island campuses) to protect the striking students.

Later in the day, José Pérez, a disabled graduate student who has won the love and respect of the entire striking community for his militancy and dedication, was badly beaten, dragged on the floor, and arrested for “aggression” when he attempted to re-enter the campus, after leaving momentarily to take care of personal affairs. Professors and fellow students who tried to come to his aid were doused in pepper spray. Two more students have been also been arrested for unknown reasons.

This afternoon, the workers unions of Puerto Rico have announced a general strike (work stoppage) for Tuesday May 18th in unity with the student movement and to denounce the confrontational politics of the colonial government of PR.

A call has been made to all people & workers to mobilize in unity with the students at all the various UPR campuses on the island.

In NYC, the Network in Support of the Workers of PR CALLS for ALL TO DENOUNCE THE REPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT AND FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE STRUGGLE OF WORKERS AND STUDENTS OF UPR.

Join the NYC Protest!
Tuesday, May 18, 5:30PM
at the Offices of the PR colonial Government (PRFAA)
135 West 50th Street (between 6th and 7th Ave)

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Filed under activism, film and video, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, protests, student movements

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