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San Juan Mayor Calls on Police to Respect Protesters’ Rights

By on November 30, 2016

SAN JUAN—The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, said Wednesday she was worried that members of the Police Department’s press team were recording protesters speaking out against the Fiscal Oversight & Management Board in Fajardo last week.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (Photo: CB/Cindy Burgos)

The mayor, who also participated in the protests, announced she will send a letter to the Police Superintendent José Caldero, to investigate the matter and determine what actions to take.

“[Taking pictures of demonstrators] is an act that is not allowed by law,” she said to Caribbean Business during a workshop at the Comptroller’s Office in the headquarters of the Commonwealth Employees Association in San Juan.

Cruz explained that, after noticing that they were taking pictures of the protest, the demonstrators explained to the officers that they were forbidden to do so.

The mayor, who has also participated in protests against the deposit of coal ashes at a Peñuelas landfill, indicated that when she participates in protests, she understands that the police can intervene with her, although she has always had her mayoral escorts on hand.

“If [police] have to intervene with me [during a demonstration], they intervene. [I do not have] any problem with that. The escorts are not there to protect me when I carry out an act of civil disobedience. I assume [my responsibility] as a citizen and no one intervenes,” she said.

Caribbean Business asked Cruz if she feared a potential clash between her escort force, which consists of state and municipal police, and the agents who handle protests. In response, she stressed that no such collisions would take place because escorts would not intervene if she was arrested during a protest.

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