Thousands of people marched in front of the Puerto Rican police headquarters on Franklin D. Roosevelt Avenue in San Juan’s Hato Rey neighborhood on July 18 to demand the removal of police chief José Figueroa Sancha and his second-in-command, José Rosa Carrasquillo, and the disbanding of the Tactical Operations Unit. The marchers started at three different points in the city, including a campus of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR); students from the UPR’s 11 campuses defeated a proposed austerity plan with a two-month strike this spring. Some organizers said more than 5,000 people participated in the march, while police sources put the number at 3,000.
Groups from different sectors of society, including the Puerto Rican Bar Association, organized the march–under the slogan “Stop the repression and the violation of human rights”–as a response to police violence at the Capitol building on June 30 against hundreds of students and their supporters trying to enter a session of the Legislature that was to vote on unpopular budget cuts and a measure to end student assemblies. Two people were arrested and a number were injured in the June 30 incident. (El Nuevo Día, San Juan, blog July 18; EFE July 18; Primera Hora, Guaynabo, July 18)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 25.
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