UPR shutdown, occupied, repressed


from reoccupied:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – An Occupation and student strike at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras is [being] violently suppressed, but not before the administration canceled the rest of the semester and closed it “indefinitely”. This Chronicle of Higher Education story reports the closure is due to 19 injured security guards in clashes with striking students and faculty as they occupied space throughout the day. More information about these clashes can be found here (Spanish), including stories about barricades, humans chains, terrified administrators and politicians, and students being pepper sprayed and beaten up. Here are some english language updates from their Solidarity page about the situation of the past two days:

The PR Police elite forces are gathering near the University. It looks like the state wants to crash the strike with its violence, with no intention of any negotiation. That’s how the UPR administration is trying to defend its anti-universitary policies. Shame on them!!!!
The police and private rent-a-cops are already congregating around the university grounds. It is now 2:00 AM local PR time.

Event page was set up for the strike action today.

The students at the UPR Humacao campus have joined in and declared a 48-hour strike alongside the original stoppage at UPR Rio Piedras.
The UPR President has publicly stated that they cannot negotiate with the students because we have nothing to negotiate. He states that there is no atmosphere for dialogue from the students, even though we have called him directly to meet.
–> The UPR President has echoed this stance; there is an attempt to divide the student movement.
The chief of the police (superintendent José Figueroa Sancha) has said that the students at the UPR are a bunch of troublemakers and that they will do their part if called upon by the UPR administration. The state university has a non-confrontation policy which prohibits the state police from entering university grounds after various violent confrontations from the 1940s-1980s.
Preparations continue as the UPR Río Piedras prepares for 48 hours of work/study stoppage that will begin on wednesday morning and the possibility of an indefinite strike that could begin on friday.
Our Student Negotiating Committee went to meet, as planned, the President of the UPR today. They were, however, greeted by no one and left again since there was none to meet with. (April 20th)

It seems that as a gesture of “good will” that the administration of the UPR went ahead and painted over the work done by the students at the occupation. At the same time, opposite groups of students against the 48-hour strike, and any resistance in general have sprung up around Facebook. It seems that we’re facing a multi-front assault.
One of the workers union (the HEEND) of the UPR and the Association of University Professors of Puerto Rico (APPU) have expressed their public solidarity with the students as they prepare for a work/study stoppage on wednesday, April 21, 2010. Family and friends of the students organize as well to attend the strike in solidarity


apr.21.2010 – (pacific time)

~3:45pm: “The police is already hurting students with pepper-spray. The shock troops have already started their offensive… The students are defending themselves with everything.”

uploaded around 7:30pm in Puerto Rico

~6:45pm: “The situation has calmed down. Regular police are still around, but the SWAT were pulled back. It was at the brink. The strike continues.

videos from April 21st.

5 Responses to “UPR shutdown, occupied, repressed”

  1. Nelson Acosta Says:

    The information regarding the 19 injured security guards is absolutely incorrect and a a manuever from the UPR administration to distract the international community from the real issues involving the strike. The students are defending their right to receive education at the lower possible cost being this educational center a public one sustained exclusively by local and federal funds. This is another trick and a very low glove to the students, faculty and blue collar workers of the UPR from the actual gubernamental administration to create the impression that the only way to correct the problems of this eduacational facility is to transfer partially or fully to private sectors the administration of the University of PR and to raise credit hour fees.
    The acutal government admistration of Luis Fortuno Burset (actual governor of PR) is not only trying to sell the UPR but the whole government dependencies/ departments to the private sector. This is a disgrace for the people of PR. That’s why the students, faculty and blue collar workers of the UPR went on a strike yesterday while government officials went into a “media tour” trying to convince locals constituents and the international community that the strikers are just long hair socialists associated with Fidel Castro and Cesar Chavez. Nothing of this is true and resides very far from the actual reality and current issues affecting the administration of this educational center.
    The administration is ready with anti-strike forces around the educational recint in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico to stop the students demonstration. They carry night- sticks, pepper spray and high caliber loaded weapons to contain the strikers. This is what the current government administration is doing on a daily basis. This administration is a extreme right wing band of corrupted officials that spend millions of dollars in gray contracts to obtain easy money “under the table” for their own profit and/ or their political campaings. The same happens in our “Alma-Mater”, UPR in which millions of dollars are incorrectly spent in contracts that nobody can clearly explain to the constituents. Why so many millions of dollars are spent in media publicity and/ or legal advisors while educational matters are left behind.
    Now, we have to understand that this is the same political party (NPP) New Progresive Party of PR that had dozens (actually more than 30) of its officials in federal prisons for corruption related felony acts regarding federal funds.
    Now, who are the bad guys here…???
    The New Progressive Party is a well known corrupted organization that must be closely monitored by the Federal Justice Department as federal funds of all kinds are in jeopardy righrt now.

    Nelson Acosta Orozco
    Skokie, Illinois

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