Puerto Rico Police Clash With Protesters Over Rossello Scandal
Above Photo: Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello meets with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on October 19, 2017, to discuss federal assistance following Hurricane Maria. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI |
Note: Attorney Natasha Bannan described the scene in Puerto Rico and the implications of the protest, writing:
“For those wondering what is happening in Puerto Rico, I tell you it is a revolution. Thousands of us gathered last night to fill the streets of Old San Juan and demand the resignation of the corrupt, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-poor, elitist governor. Through 889 pages that were anonymously leaked of texts between him and officials, they made fun of the living and the dead. The indignation of this nation can no longer withstand so much abuse and disrespect, especially from their own.
“So we gathered, we locked arms and held hands. We chanted, sang, and marched. For the first time in a generation, we truly shut it down.
“Then the police began to thrown tear gas and pepper spray at us while we had our hands raised and chanted at them, asking them to join us. One tear gas bomb exploded in my face. I couldn’t see or breathe. The pain was overwhelming. I could let walk or move quickly enough because I couldn’t open my eyes and I had trouble breathing. But a young man at my side immediately took care of me. He threw water on me and guided me to a safer spot. He insisted I talk to him and look at him. He repeatedly asked me if I was ok. He was the epitome of solidarity, for which I will forever be grateful.
“It is important you watch what is happening here. Know that this colonial government only obeys directions of the US, and know what it is your government does in your name. Join the calls for the Governor’s resignation, for the elimination of the colonial fiscal control board, for the end to colonialism.
“Last night was what the future looked like for the colony when people take their destiny into their own hands.” KZ
July 16 (UPI) — Puerto Rican police clashed with demonstrators late Monday over Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s refusal to give up power, in the wake of a leaked chat log that’s tainted his administration.
Officers used tear gas and pepper spray to control thousands of protesters in front of Rossello’s San Juan home.
Rossello is facing growing calls to resign after leaked messages showed what critics say are misogynistic, profane and homophobic comments against women and political opponents. One message contained a death threat against San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz — to which Rossello purportedly replied, “you’d be doing me a big favor.”
The governor has answered critics by saying he works 18-hour days and was only venting to friends online.
The third consecutive day of protests Monday was marked with chants of “Ricky Resign!”
Puerto Rico’s police commissioner said protesters threw rocks and gas canisters, which prompted riot police to respond with gas.
Two Puerto Rican officials have already resigned, but Rossello said he’ll seek a second term next year.
The FBI arrested two officials on fraud charges involving more than $15 million, and Rossello’s government has been criticized for its handling of relief and recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria.
“I asked everyone for forgiveness,” Rossello said during a radio interview.