The day after Puerto Rico saw a series of demonstrations led by labor unions and students that drew thousands of protesters and called attention to the U.S. territory’s debt crisis, police confirmed that 17 people were arrested for acts of vandalism, Metro PR reported on Tuesday.
Most of the vandalism occurred in Hato Rey at the Milla de Oro financial district, where video showed unidentified protesters smashing windows and destroying property.
The police, according to Metro PR, said that it expects more arrests. One sergeant from San Juan went on WAPA TV and said most of those arrested were students from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), although social media reports from the ground are questioning whether the police was using infiltrators to discredit the student movement, which has been a leading voice against the government’s current austerity measures. For example, in this video from Monday, there is a moment when an unidentified protester is talking with a police officer:
In addition, a Twitter profile that shares information among UPR students noted that UPR students at the Milla de Oro protest were telling those causing damage to stop:
Las manifestantes gritaban a coro "¡No, no, no, no!" a los que tiraban piedras. No olvidemos por qué se marchó… https://t.co/MOrZIZ1guq
— Estudiantes Informan (@UPRestudiantes) May 2, 2017
There were also reports of rubber bullets and pepper spray being used by police at the Milla de Oro protest.
There was also an early morning protest at La Fortaleza (where the governor resides).
Protesters also blocked the entrance to Luis Muñoz International Airport.
Meanwhile, an aerial view of the Milla de Oro protest from Monday shows thousands of people at the action:
According to sources on the ground in Hato Rey, the vandalism occurred after the organized event ended.