URGENT ACTION REQUIRED: UPDATE (June 9 2010) Anti-riot police has arrived to the Presidency of the UPR where there are five students protesting through civil disobedience in response to the President's refusal to continue negotiations. The President has insisted that negotiations have ended they will now solely seek to remove the strikers through judicial orders, which may ultimately lead to the forceful removal of protesters by police forces.
The students of the University of Puerto Rico are now entering their 46th day of strike in defense of good and affordable public education for all Puerto Ricans. By its second week, the strike had extended to 10 of the UPR’s 11 campuses via democratic decision-making processes in student assemblies. In fact, the latest assemblies in the two main campuses in Rio Piedras and Mayagüez were called for due to pressure by University Administrators and Government Officials, only to be later declared ‘unrepresentative of the student body’ after the students voted in favor of ratifying the strike.
During this time the Government of Puerto Rico, through the UPR Administration and the Police, has subjected the strikers and their supporters to intimidation through:
- The threat of legal proceedings and frivolous arrests, none of which have resulted in charges being brought against protesters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlwHAi5zQEM )
- Denial of access to food, water and medical attention to the students currently inside the University’s campuses, for a period of time during the third week of strike (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFw6nwxErOw ).
Throughout the strike there has been widespread concern that the University will be reopened through the forceful removal of the hundreds of students currently protesting through peaceful resistance inside 10 campuses across the island, an action that would no doubt put the students’ safety and personal integrity at risk.
We call on your support in asking the Government of Puerto Rico to fulfill its duties as guardian of all its citizens’ human and civil rights and to ensure that a peaceful resolution to this conflict is found.