Ricky Martin waves a Pride flag during protests in San Juan, Puerto Rico (photo: Alejandro Pedrosa @WorldJunkies)
For the tenth straight night, protests against Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo A. Rosselló have continued with an estimated 500,000 residents of the U.S. territory coming together to demand Rosselló’s resignation.
The New York Times reports that “hundreds of thousands of people swept through the capital of Puerto Rico on Monday, shutting down a major highway and paralyzing much of the city.”
After years of mounting frustrations due to recession and austerity measures, plus a slow moving recovery after Hurricane Maria, it appears the island territory was a powder keg waiting to ignite. The news of hundreds of mocking homophobic/sexist text messages between Rosselló and his advisors, appearing as a kind of ‘bro’ culture, looks to have been the tipping point.
Buses full of protesters streamed into San Juan, the territory’s capital, as well as planes arriving from the mainland.
International pop star Ricky Martin, who was the target of some of the homophobic and sexist text messages, has been on the ground in San Juan helping to lead the protests.
While the weather sometimes made for wet moments, Puerto Ricans weren’t deterred from carrying banners, banging on pots, and marching for miles along the main highway chanting, “Ricky, renuncia, el pueblo te repudia!” — “Ricky, resign, the people reject you.”
On Sunday, Rosselló pledged he would not seek re-election in 2020 and announced he would step down as leader of his political party. But those promises didn’t appear to assuage his constituents as calls for immediate resignation continued.
The governor and 11 associates have been served search warrants ordering their cell phones be surrendered as part of an investigation into the text messages scandal, reports out CBS journalist David Begnaud.
Begnaud also reports that much of the protest is being led by young people aged 14 to 30.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith spoke with the governor Monday and asked him who in Puerto Rico still supports him. The governor was pretty much at a loss to come up with a name.