Puerto Rico: Massive Peaceful Demonstration to Take Place on Sunday

A peaceful march that promises to be a huge event is taking place this Sunday, July 18, 2010, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The march is meant to protest acts of repression that have taken place, especially this year during the university student strike and related demonstrations.

Arturo Hernández, President of the Puerto Rico Bar Association, explained that Sunday’s march to protest violence against various sectors by government will be peaceful and creative, adding that “The concentration of this great march next Sunday will take place in a framework of civility, order, and security, which will ensure the peaceful participation of all citizens that attend.” He underlined that freedom of expression would be protected so that various forms of protest can take place.  However, he noted that political parties have agreed not to use their respective flags.

 In a press conference in which additional information for the event was provided, it was announced that the groups will begin organizing at 11:00am and leave at about 12:30pm from four different points, rather than three, as had been stated earlier. At least six different churches will participate in the march, including Baptists and Methodists, all starting from the Catholic Church Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe in Puerto Nuevo.  The other departure points are the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, the Department of Labor in Hato Rey, and the metropolitan train (Tren Urbano) station in Santurce. 

Senior police officers and organizers of the march against violence gathered outside the Hiram Bithorn Stadium to discuss the logistics of the event. Superintendent José Figueroa Sancha did not participate in this meeting because the demonstration organizers and some demonstrators have called for his resignation or dismissal. At the request of the organizers, the police must keep their Riot Police [Fuerza de Choque] out of sight, because one of the appeals of the protest is to dissolve this police unit.

Leovigildo Vázquez, assistant superintendent of Field Operations, said that he was pleased that the organizers have given the police a head up regarding the demonstration and that they had announced a peaceful event with its own disciplinary committee. This way, he added, the police will only have to worry about traffic to ensure space for the demonstrators.

[Many thanks to Ivonne Maria Marcial for bringing this item to our attention.]

For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/aseguranqueserapacificaycreativalamarchadeldomingo-742934.html

See explanatory video (in Spanish) at http://www.elnuevodia.com/videos-ofrecendetallessobrelamarcha-166518.html

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