MONTEVIDEO – At least 12 people were arrested and more than 30 others injured, most of them police officers, when a group of students was evicted from the Uruguayan public education administration headquarters, which they occupied last week to protest government education policies, officials said.
The Labor and Social Security Ministry on Tuesday authorized the removal of protesters from the Central Administrative Council, or CODICEN, a department of the National Public Education Administration, or ANEP.
High school students camped out in CODICEN’s offices last Friday to demand more funding for education.
After long and fruitless negotiations, and with the protesters refusing to leave the premises, a police tactical unit cleared the building of demonstrators, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Police officers who entered the building “did not meet any resistance from the protesters, who quickly left the building in a sort of self-evacuation,” the ministry said.
Outside the building, however, police were attacked by members of the Taxicab Drivers and Telephone Workers Union, or SUATT, and the Memory and Justice organization, which supported the students, the government said.
Taxi drivers were marching in their own protest when they walked by the CODICEN offices and decided to stop and show their support for the students, the El Observador newspaper reported on its Web site.
The marchers “attacked police forces” with rocks, iron bars and sticks, the ministry said.