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Tue Jul 23, 2019, 02:45 AM

Puerto Rico police fire teargas on thousands of protesters calling for governor to resign

Source: The Guardian

Puerto Rico police fire teargas on thousands of protesters calling for governor to resign

• US island territory hit by general strike
• Ricardo Rosselló insists: ‘I am a good man’


Oliver Laughland in New York and Norbert Figueroa in San Juan
@oliverlaughland
Mon 22 Jul 2019 14.26 EDT First published on Mon 22 Jul 2019 09.32 EDT

Police in San Juan fired tear gas on Monday night to disperse thousands of protesters demanding Puerto Rico’s governor resign over offensive chat messages, the latest scandal to hit a bankrupt island struggling to recover from 2017 hurricanes.

Police moved in at about 11pm to break up protesters still on the streets of San Juan’s old city following day-long demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of residents. It follows Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s attempt to cling on to power despite resigning as president of the ruling New Progressive party and announcing he will not run for re-election next year.

A general strike took place across the US territory on Monday morning, protesters chanting the now familiar cry of “Ricky resign!”, waving flags and banging drums. Demonstrations have gripped the island since hundreds of pages of leaked text messages between the governor and 11 members of his inner circle were published on 13 July.

The messages contain homophobic and sexist slurs against political rivals and cultural figures. They also contain a joke about dead bodies during Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017.

Puerto Rico’s largest mall, Plaza de las Américas, closed before Monday’s demonstration along with many other businesses. Last week police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters at a huge rally outside the governor’s residence in the island’s capital, San Juan.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/22/puerto-rico-protesters-block-highway-governor-ricardo-rossello

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