|Written by Diego Cruz|
|Monday, 28 November 2011 17:30|
|…Demanding the prisoners’ release and against PM (The Military Police).
After the troop’s invasion, students interrupted the classes and started the protests. A united Assembly discussed the coming steps.
The strong police apparatus that stormed the building of the Rectorate of USP (University of São Paulo) in the early hours this morning (Tuesday, November 8th) ended the building’s occupation, with the peacefully departure of students who were there for several days. However, the police action has not ended the battle started at the University on the agreement between the Rectorate and the PM (Military Police), which allows the presence of the military police in the campus, banned since the fall of the military dictatorship in the 80s. On the contrary, the presence of dozens of vehicles, gas bombsand of 400 police officers triggered the rebellion in the university community.
Immediately after the military operation, groups of students gathered together in front of the Rectorate, comprising students arriving for classes, activists who were not arrested or who were not participating in the occupation, teachers, workers and trade unionists. Protesters who arrived were greeted with a strong police cordon, which remained assembled throughout the day, with dozens of Riot Control policemen and the Tactical Forces, and also several vehicles being used to prevent the passage up to the front of the Rectorate building.
The residents of CRUSP, the student residence halls which were awakened around 5 am because of the police operation, also joined to this group. “We woke up with the sound of helicopters flying over the University and the sirens. Soon after, they launched tear gas in order to prevent us from leaving our building and going to the Rectorate Building. At least three bombs were dropped”, complains one resident, who declined to be identified.
By mid morning, the protesters held a meeting and decided to form several groups to go through the University, to stop classes, talk with students and to denounce the incident. At the Language and Literature Course, students held a meeting and decided to stop classes, adhering to the mobilization. It was also decided to postpone the election of the Academic Center. They also issued a public note against the PM (Military Police) in the campus.
Around 11:00 am about 200 students from several courses such as Language and Literature and Architecture, also marched up to the Police Station, where the 73 students had been taken prisoners. “We walked for about one hour to the police station, chanting slogans for the freedom of our comrades,” says the student Paulo Henrique, a student at the Language and Literature Course and PSTU militant, who arrived at USP at 6h50min and had to face the invasion.
Late in the afternoon, 70 students were still being held, many of them inside the military buses in front of the police station. They issued a letter in which they denounced “police forces forced us to go into dark rooms where they beat us. They were wearing military uniforms without identification”. After the charge filed against the students by the Rector, it was set a bail of US$560 for each of the detainees. During the afternoon, unions and organizations such as the CSP-Conlutas, moved to file an application for habeas corpus and to raise the money needed for their release.
When the students came back from the police station, they gathered together with other students who were protesting near the Rectorate, totaling approximately 300 people. There, facing the police, they protested against the attack, with slogans, speeches and public-lessons given by teachers from USP, who also released a manifesto and an online petition against the invasion.
The protest got stronger and, with the classes stopped, it helped to bring together those who were still perplexed and angered by the Rector’s action. In the early afternoon, a delegation of students from IME (Institute of Mathematics and Statistics) came to support the protest. They carried a banner that read: “If even the IME is up here, it means that things are getting very bad,” sending up the low participation and adherence to protests by students of that institute.
In the evening, the students held meetings at several courses buildings and at 20:00, they would start a general assembly to decide on the next steps. “Without freedom, there is no university. This attack overthrew the mask of the Rector who has been militarizing the USP campus, with the presence of PM and lawsuits against students and employees”, said Dirceu Travesso, from CSP-Conlutas. “What is at stake is the defense of the university and of the people rights. It is necessary a large unity to fight against this attack. “
In the general meeting which brought together more than 2,000 people on Tuesday evening, the students decided to declare a general strike. They demanded an end to the agreement between the rectorate and the PM (Military Police) and the archiving of all lawsuits against the arrested students.
According to information from the newspaper “O Estado de S. Paulo” online, it took US$ 20,800.00 to pay the bail of the students, a national minimum wage for each. The money was raised by unions affiliated to the CSP-Conlutas, mainly the Sintusp, the union of USP employees.
The Youth of PSTU issued the following statement on the PM action and the arrests of students at USP.
· Out with PM (Military Police) from USP campus!
· Down with therepression!
· Freedom for the arrested students!
· For theimmediatebreakupof the agreementbetween thePMand USP!
In the early hours of Tuesday, November 8th,the Military Police,under the command of the University Rectorate and of the Judiciary, raided the University and the Rectorate’s building in order to remove the students who were protesting against the presence of the Military Police in the campus, arresting 73 students and intimidating the entire university community.
The mask of the agreement between the Academic Rector and PM (Military Police) falls
With this act of violence and lawlessness all the Rectorate’s excuses collapse and it is absolutely clear why the Military Police remains in the campus.The goal is not to protect the public from criminals. The aim is to repress and intimidate the student movement. They use the tragic murder of a student, recently occurred, and the pretext of fighting against crime to allow the entrance of the Military Police.
The Military Police (PM) did not solve the problem of criminality and instead they started a process of persecution and control of students and employees, addressing and searching them by entering in the academic centers and school buildings, interfering directly in the spaces that should allow a free and democratic debate of ideas.
And now they have demonstrated clearly the main objective of the Rectorate in keeping them in the campus: to repress violently, to arrest and to deter all those who participate in any protest, either students or employees.
We, from the Youth of PSTU, think that the occupation of the Rectorate building by the students was not the best way to get the support from the majority of the community and the population in order to work together to defeat the Rector’s repression and drive the PM off the campus, bringing back the university autonomy.
We evaluate that the struggle against the PM in the campus is crucial but we do not agree that this fight should be taken by a minority.
We should seek the support of more students throughout the USP, build a great mobilization and use the most radical methods, such as occupations, when such methods are appropriate to get people closer to our fight and gain the support of the public opinion to our positions.
For us, it is the fighters’ duty to gain more and more students to back our opinions and activities. And part of this is to respect the majority opinion even when we are against it.
We want a safe university, but we advocate alternatives to the PM presence: further illumination of the campus and better means of transportation so that the local population can occupy its spaces, the hiring of trained employees through public tender, including a female body that meets the cases of violence against women, to work on the University Safety and Security. We are against the PM in the campus because we know that its role is another – to address students and workers, to observe and repress the organized movement, to prevent the free dissemination of ideas, so important to the university autonomy.
In the fighters’ defense! Against repression!
Although not looking at the occupation as the best way to defeat the repression, we do not accept any repression against the students who were occupying the Rectorate’s building. We support all those who are against repression and advocate Public University, regardless of the disagreements on the best way to fight.
· We repudiate any kind of violent action on the part of the Rectorate to repress the movement.
· We demand the immediate release of all arrested students.
· We are against any lawsuits against students and workers.
· We also require a complete withdrawal of the criminal and administrative lawsuits.
Unity to fight against the police in the campus
At a time when the student movement at the University of São Paulo – USP – suffers one of its most severe attacks, we cannot accept the military police at the campus, under any excuse. We call all the student movement and social movements to participate in the struggle in a unitary way: for the immediate withdrawal of the military police from the campus and for the immediate release of all arrested students.