At least seventy student demonstrators upset at the imposition of new student fees at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) were arrested this morning. The protesters were detained at one of the entrances to the UPR campus in Rio Piedras, a location not designated by authorities as an official protest zone. Allegedly among those arrested due to the act of civil disobedience was student protest leader Adriana Mulero as well as the head of Puerto Rico’s teachers union.
Other civil disobedience actions have also taken place throughout the day including, as of the time of this post, sit-ins by students in the streets around the UPR. The following video from the website of Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Dia shows some of those detained during today’s protests in San Juan:
It’s no coincidence that today’s actions come on the same day of a deadline for UPR students to pay the $800 fee or lose their enrollment. Strike leaders have allegedly advised students to only pay the first installment of the controversial fee in order to maintain enrollment or to write "Payment Under Protest" on check payments in case a class action lawsuit is filed.
Today’s protests are just the latest incidents in the opposition to Gov. Luis Fortuño’s austerity measures. The UPR network of eleven universities was paralyzed for two months last year in protests against Fortuño’s plans to impose fees that would’ve doubled tuition. As written in Global Voices, last week “hooded protesters” vandalized and intimidated students at the Rio Piedras campus.
Video Source – El Nuevo Dia
Online Sources- El Diario/La Prensa, The Latin Americanist, Global Voices, primerahora.com, Huffington Post