PUERTORICO-MAYDAY-DEMONSTRATION

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On Tuesday, May 1, thousands of Puerto Ricans stepped out in the streets on the island to fight for the rights they have long been denied in honor of May Day or International Workers’ Day.

But what was supposed to be a peaceful and powerful demonstration suddenly became violent due to police brutality — here’s a quick rundown of what happened.

Puerto Ricans Gathered to Fight Government Imposed Sanctions

In response to the island’s debt crisis, the government recently approved a fiscal plan that would lay out a series of budget cuts and agency consolidations. The plan includes closing schools, imposing university tuition increases and potential cuts to pensions and sick days.

 

Police Tear Gassed the Crowd, Including Children

There were reports of vandalism and protesters throwing rocks as marchers went into an area that police said was blocked. Officers responded by throwing tear gas into the crowd, and people ran away vomiting and crying as they fled the scene.

 

University Students Were Followed Home by Police

According to the ACLU of Puerto Rico, the island’s Police Department perpetuated acts of violence against demonstrators, reporters and legal observers. They also made warrantless arrests of protesters in their homes and dorms.

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Attention Was Brought to Ongoing Police Brutality Problem on Island

While excessive force was seen during the protest in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, this isn’t uncommon. The ACLU has found that PRPD officers use tactics to use excessive force against low-income and Black communities.

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