By Brennan Stark, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – An estimated 300 Military Police accompanied by police helicopters began forcibly removing student protesters from the University of São Paulo (USP) at 5:10AM this morning. Around sixty students have detained thus far.
USP students began occupying the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Science (FFLCH) building, which houses the university president’s office, last Wednesday, November 1st.
The protest was sparked several days after a violent confrontation with police, reportedly during the arrest of three students for marijuana possession.
They had been demanding a reevaluation of university lawsuits against students, and an end to the regular Military Police presence on campus which started about two months ago.
The police presence was set into motion after the death of Felipe Ramos de Paiva, a 24 year-old USP student murdered on campus on May 18th this year.
The student protesters had been given until 11PM Monday night to vacate the building, but an estimated 350 chose to stay. Frustrations and anxieties intensified after the deadline, with reports of some students to begin pelting journalists in the area with sticks and stones.
The university had held negotiations with students and employees over the weekend and yesterday afternoon, but ultimately rejected their demands for removing the police presence.
In 2007, university students occupied the same building for 55 days.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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