University of Puerto Rico Clash Boils Over, 17 Detained

Protests over a new fee at the University of Puerto Rico erupted in violence, officials said Tuesday, as police in riot gear took 17 people into custody.

The clash boiled over Monday afternoon when several people threw smoke bombs inside at least one of the campuses, setting off sprinklers in a library that damaged books and computers, police said.

The people who were detained were expected in court Tuesday to face charges that included inciting a riot and damage to property.

Police said students tried to break into a police station near the university as they threw rocks and other objects. They allegedly damaged a police car, too, said police spokeswoman Damaris Pereira.

She added that several officers suffered minor injuries and received medical attention.

Hundreds of students launched the strike a week ago to demand that university officials eliminate an $800 yearly fee that will be imposed next year to help reduce the system's budget deficit.

Students already pay $49 per credit.

A similar strike in April over the fee and other issues paralyzed the university for nearly two months.

The university's budget was recently cut from $9 billion to $7 billion a year.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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