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