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News > Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico: Police Crackdown, Arrests as Thousands Demand Governor Rosello's Resignations

  • Night protests against Governor Ricardo Rosselló in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 17, 2019.

    Night protests against Governor Ricardo Rosselló in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 17, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 July 2019

The police erected concrete barricades at the Old San Juan streets in an unsuccessful attempt to disperse protesters.

During the fifth consecutive day of demonstrations against Governor Ricardo Rosello Wednesday, the Puerto Rican police harshly repressed citizens whose protest continue into Wednesday night around La Fortaleza, the seat of government in the capital San Juan.


Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny Join Puerto Rico Protests Against Rossello

In the historical area of the capital, the Old San Juan, the police erected concrete barricades at the streets in an unsuccessful attempt to disperse thousands of protesters who braved the police repression in favor of their demands for the resignation of the governor. 

In response to police violence, including the excessive use of tear gas, Puerto Rican protesters improvised bonfires in the streets and began throwing objects at officers.

Police Chief Henry Escalera, who said the protest had turned into an illegal "mutiny​​​​​​," held that his men were forced to act after warning demonstrators that they would be confronted with tear gas if they did not disperse. 

Popular discontent intensified after the disclosure of Telegram chats in which Governor Rosello and his advisers exchanged sexist, discriminatory and homophobic messages against opposition journalists and politicians. The 889 leaked chats, however, were only the trigger for the outrage.

Puerto Rican social and political organizations called for protests in front of the Capitol on Monday to demand that the Congress remove the governor from office. For he had been accused of corruption by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ​​​​a week before.

"This is Puerto Rico! This is Revolution! This will happen until either we take you out or you leave! Ricky, get out now."

At 5:00 p.m. local time Wednesday afternoon, thousands gathered at the Capitol, the home to the Legislative Assembly, to carry out a march against Rossello, an event in which artists such as local Bad Bunny, Ricky Martin and Residente participated.

"Measureless corruption and theft of our children's education and people's health, as well as the plundering of our institutions and values, are unforgivable acts. Rosello, think of the country... resign immediately... avoid more suffering and international shame to our people," said the singer Fonsi, as reported by HoyLosAngeles.

"The governor has to go to hell to stop corruption and money laundering. He has insulted the people who work for him and Puerto Rico. This cannot be left like this," Residente said, adding that "we have a dictatorship right now."

The situation on the island "affects me, it is very sad for me," Benicio del Toro said and stressed that "we must protest peacefully and explain to the governor what the people feel".

"Every time we unite, things happen. With a united island, everything can be done," Ricky Martin stressed when joining the march.

Meanwhile, at a press conference, Interior Undersecretary Erik Rolon, who claimed that about 12,000 people were protesting, indicated that what had happened would not make Governor Rosello resign.

"The Puerto Rican people deserve stability and order. That is why a four-year term [mandate] is established unless particular circumstances occur," he said.​​​​​​

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