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16-02-11 World Day of Solidarity With Upr to Mark 40th Anniversary of March 11

16-02-11 World Day of Solidarity With Upr to Mark 40th Anniversary of March 11

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Published by William J Greenberg

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Feb 22, 2011
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECOMMUNIQUÉWORLD DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH UPR TO MARK 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARCH11February 16, 2011 – Networks of sympathizers with the ongoing student strike at the Universityof Puerto Rico announced today that thy will stage simultaneous demonstrations in solidaritywith the UPR in cities around the world on Friday, March 11, 2011, and invited all supporters to join them, coordinating their own activities in their respective towns. Those interested in self-organizing demonstrations can emailredaccion@gmail.comto sign the Declaration, or visitredaccion-pr.net for information on already scheduled activities. Event organizers urged peopleto send in videos, and/or statements of support, from their demos. The full text of the Declarationfollows.A CALL TO CONSCIENCE AND HISTORICAL MEMORYWORLD DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE UPR “Antonia, Peoples never forgive.“-Antonio Cabán Vale “El Topo”March 11, 1971 was one of the bloodiest single days in the history of the University of PuertoRico. The main campus at Río Piedras was occupied by the Puerto Rico Police, unleashingviolent confrontations that ended the lives of two police officers, including the then chief of thenotorious Tactical Operations Unit, and one student.Barely one year before, on March 4, 1970, during a student demonstration, student AntoniaMartínez Lagares was shot dead by police. These tragedies influenced a series of decisions thathelped reduce the intensity of on-campus conflicts during the following decades, including theremoval of the United States’ Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), and aninstitutional commitment to resolving conflicts without police intervention.Forty years later, the UPR community, led by the students, still struggles for a democraticand accessible institution, against the abusive and exclusionary policies of the latest colonialgovernment. Among these, aside from its clear intention to privatize higher education as much asit can, said government has laid off over 25,000 public employees, and intends to build agasoduct across the island that will displace entire communities and impact areas of highecological and archeological value.
In this context, the Río Piedras Campus once again lived several months of police occupation,with the open support of the government and university administrators, in reaction to the strikedemocratically declared by the Río Piedras General Student Assembly, rejecting an unjust andarbitrary $800 hike in the cost of studying. The eyes of the world watched as Puerto Rico Policeofficers tortured peaceful civil disobedients with impunity, sexually accosted and attackedwomen students, discriminatorily harassed student leaders, and savagely beat people, even under custody, all before the television cameras.There can be no doubt that the recent decision by Governor Luis Fortuño to withdraw the bulk of the police force from the Río Piedras Campus is a partial victory for the students, who with their  bravery and determination have raised the political cost of sustaining that level of repression wayto high for the government to afford. However, now is not the time to lower the guard. Itwouldn’t be the first time that the Fortuño administration temporarily curtails its use of bruteforce, only to return even more violently under any pretext. We are convinced that if the PuertoRico Police is not removed immediately, completely, and permanently from all UPR campuses, itwill only be a matter of time before another March 11.In addition, we are united by the firm conviction that the demands of the UPR community are just. The strike is still in effect, and the struggle (its current phase) will continue until the $800hike is eliminated. In the longer term, we support a real democratization of the decision-making process in the UPR, so that it is the community that determines the best way to handle theinstitution’s financial and administrative problems.For all of these reasons, Friday, March 11, 2011, fortieth anniversary of that fateful March 11,will be World Day of Solidarity with the UPR. On that day we will hold, in our respective cities,simultaneous demonstrations together with individuals and organizations that support just causes.At a time when the powerful voice of the brave Egyptian people and all arab nations is stillringing around the the globe, we are confident that the people of consciousness of the world willwelcome this initiative and organize their own activities of solidarity on that day.We enthusiastically urge you to sign on to this Declaration, and send us video, images, andstatements of support from your World Day of Solidarity with the UPR demonstrations.STRUGGLE YES, GIVE IN NO!POLICE OUT OF THE UPR!ZERO HIKE!Contacts:redaccion@gmail.comhttp://redaccion-pr.net

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