17 detained as PR university strike turns violent

At least 17 people have been detained as students at the largest public university in the Caribbean clashed with police during an indefinite strike over a new fee, officials said Tuesday.

The violent clash Monday afternoon began when several people threw smoke bombs inside the University of Puerto Rico. The bombs activated sprinklers in a library, damaging books and computers, police said in a statement.

The suspects are expected to appear in court Tuesday afternoon to face charges including inciting a riot and damage to property.

Students later tried to break into a police station near the university as they threw rocks and other objects and also damaged a patrol car, Police spokeswoman Damaris Pereira said. Several officers were slightly injured and received medical attention, she said.

Hundreds of students launched the strike a week ago to demand that university officials eliminate an $800 yearly fee that will be imposed next year to help reduce the system’s budget deficit. Students already pay $49 per credit.

A similar strike in April over the fee and other issues paralyzed the university for nearly two months.

The university’s budget was recently cut from $9 billion to $7 billion a year.

For the original report go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/21/AR2010122102461.html

Photo from http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/15/5656669-puerto-rican-university-students-protest-tuition-fee-hikes

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