Federal agents in riot gear today removed and arrested over 60 protesters, including two U.S. lawmakers, from the gates of a U.S. Navy bombing range on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Protesters at several sites within the bomb-strewn range on Vieques were taken away within 40 minutes, many in plastic handcuffs. Agents in helicopters moved on to about a dozen other camps, including that of Puerto Rico’s Independence Party leader, Ruben Berrios. Berrios was detained.
"Puerto Rico has been invaded again," New York City councilman Jose Rivera said as he was led away by a U.S. marshal. "I can promise you tomorrow there will be civil disobedience all over the United States."
He was taken away along with New York state legislator Roberto Ramirez and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., who said: "We are here to express our solidarity, and that solidarity has no limits."
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., also was detained at a makeshift chapel of religious groups inside the bombing range when the agents arrived. He said one Puerto Rican FBI agent was almost in tears as he handcuffed protesters.
- Agabito Belardo, activist in Vieques.