This winter’s student strike against tuition hikes at the University of Puerto Rico saw new levels of violence yesterday, as protesters claimed that students were viciously beaten by police and cops claimed eight police officers were left injured.
Police have been stationed on UPR campuses this month for the first time in more than three decades — a strike this spring left the university closed for 54 days, and university officials and politicians are desperate to avoid a replay of that outcome. A week ago, a local court banned demonstrations on university property.
Cops say that yesterday’s clashes began late in the afternoon when activists lit smoke bombs in an attempt to clear classrooms, and escalated as students threw rocks and other objects at police.
It has been reported that one student protester’s shoulder was dislocated by police, and urgent messages on Twitter last night spoke of intense fear and anger at police behavior. A second clash between police and demonstrators is said to have taken place at a police station later in the evening.