Puerto Rico: Thousands urge governor′s resignation in massive protests | News | DW | 22.07.2019
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Puerto Rico: Thousands urge governor's resignation in massive protests

The protests are expected to be the largest yet against Governor Ricardo Rossello. His vow to not run for reelection did little to quell public outrage over corruption allegations as well as sexist and homophobic texts.

Thousands of people flooded the streets of the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan on Monday, singing and carrying signs calling for Governor Ricardo Rossello's immediate resignation.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to take part in Monday's protests — which would make them the largest demonstrations against Rossello since protests kicked off last week.

"They can't deny it: The power is in the street," San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz wrote on Twitter.

Puerto Ricans have also been outraged over alleged corruption involving money that was intended for the victims of Hurricane Maria in 2017. The storm left nearly 3,000 people dead in the US territory.

Calls for Rossello's resignation intensified after the publication of nearly 900 pages of chat messages that showed the governor and male members of his administration insulting women, journalists and members of the LGBT+ community as well as making fun of hurricane victims.

Puerto Rico, Proteste gegen Gouverneur Ricardo Rossello (Reuters/M. Bello)

Protesters danced and sang as they blocked a street in San Juan

Apology falls short

On Sunday, Rossello issued an apology and announced he would not be running for reelection once his term ends in January 2021.

"I have listened, and I am listening to you today," Rossello said in a video posted on Facebook. "I have made mistakes and I have apologized."

His response did little to quell public outrage. Pop singer Ricky Martin, who was one of the people Rossello ridiculed in his chats, said he would be taking part in Monday's protests and urged lawmakers to start impeachment proceedings.

"I want to feel the power of the people," Martin said in a video posted on his social media accounts.

The turmoil comes as Puerto Rico struggles in an ongoing bankruptcy process to restructure some $120 billion (€107 billion) in public debt.

The island is home to 3 million US citizens, although they are not eligible to vote in US presidential or congressional elections.

Watch video 02:33

Puerto Rico still reeling after Hurricane Maria

rs/amp (AFP, Reuters)

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