Judge Orders Arrest of Indigenous Taino Protesters at PR Sacred Ceremonial Grounds

      Utuado, Puerto Rico - After 10 days of occupying the state run
      Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center in Utuado, Puerto Rico arrest
      warrants have been issued for the indigenous Taino protesters.
      Utuado Judge Concepcion Figueroa has charged five of the activists
      with contempt of court for failing to appear before her this
      morning. Bail has been set at one thousand dollars for each one of
      the activists and a trial has been set for the fourth of October .
      The Taino reclaimed the ceremonial center in an effort to draws
      attention to the island wide desecration of sacred sites, and the
      lack of recognition of their basic human rights.

      The Taino now await the arresting police officers to appear at
      Caguana and remove them from the grounds that they consider sacred.
      One protester, Naniki Reyes Ocasio, has been on a hunger for nine
      days will need medical assistance as she is having trouble walking.
      The other six hunger strikers have ended their fast but remain
      vigilant at the site. "Spiritually I feel so strong and I know
      that it is the prayers of the people and the ancient ones who are
      sustaining me" said Reyes Ocasio. "I am very clear in my
      thoughts and I am aware that many supporters have concerns for my
      health but I want everyone to know that I will continue to fast for
      as long as I can so that our petition can be heard."

      Roger Atihuibancex, a representative of the United Confederation of
      Taino People added "The fact that the Governor's Office has not
      officially responded to the petitioners who have been engaged in a
      hunger strike for over a week should make it clear to the world
      that the Taino and our concerns are being completely ignored".

      Reyes Ocasio, who is the founder of the Caney Quinto Mundo (Fith
      World Learning Center), continued by stating "In denying the
      people he was elected to serve access to his offices, the Governor
      and his administration have demonstrated to the world their
      inhumanity and feelings toward Indigenous Peoples". She has
      requested that supporters continue to apply pressure on Governor
      Anibal Acevedo Vila to meet with the Taino protestors.

      The Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center is an archeological park
      run by Puerto Ricos Institute of Culture and the Taino have
      received no sympathy from this agency. The Institute's Executive
      Director, Dr. Teresa Tio, has publicly denounced the activists,
      comparing them to cannibals and terrorists. The Director is
      currently facing her own problems with her own staff as calls for
      her resignation are being made. For the last two days her staff
      members have picketed in front of the Institute's offices in San
      Juan citing her dictatorial management style. In yesterday's
      edition of Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia, Dr. Tio has stated
      that increased security at the Institute which barred the
      protesting employees from entering the premises was necessary
      because of the action of the "alleged Tainos in Caguana".

      The Taino and their action in Caguana have not gone unnoticed or
      unsupported by island residents or the international community.
      Yesterday, the Mayor of Utuado, the Hon. Alan Gonzalez Cancel,
      expressed his concerns for the Taino protesters as well as the
      importance of the ceremonial center. Representatives of the Consejo
      General de Tainos Boricanos (General Council of Boriken Taino) will
      meet with him to discuss their concerns on Friday.

      *For Information on site in Puerto Rico contact:
      GUATIBIRI 1-787-519-3551

      *To contact the United Confederation of Taino People:



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