Over 500,000 protesters at the “March of the People,” as it’s being called, paralyzed the San Juan metropolitan area a day after Ricardo Rosselló said he would not resign.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hundreds of thousands of people occupied San Juan’s biggest highway on Monday demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, in the island’s largest demonstration in recent history.
“We don’t want him,” said María Mercedes Perieria Dávila, who attended the demonstration dressed in the Puerto Rican flag. “The people are screaming today for him to leave. Nobody wants him. Puerto Rico is yelling!”
Not even heavy rain showers discouraged protesters like Pereira Dávila, as crowds blasted music while chanting “Ricky, renuncia!” (“Ricky, resign!”).
The “March of the People,” as it’s being called, has paralyzed the San Juan metropolitan area and the nerve center of the island’s main shopping, banking and commercial districts.
More than 500,000 people participated in the march, Jardany Díaz Salgado, a geographer who studied aerial images of the protest, told El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s main newspaper.
The protest stretched into Monday night, and police shot tear gas at hundreds outside the governor’s mansion late in the evening.
When Daria Montañez, 20, and her friend, Andre Girona, 23, turned on the television Monday morning and saw the hundreds of thousands of people on San Juan’s biggest highway — they were inspired to take action.
“We’re not doing anything here, we’ve got to get out of the house,” Montañez’s twin sister, Aria, said.
The three stood in front of the Fortaleza governor’s residence Monday night — among roughly 500 protesters — and said they’ll be protesting until the governor steps down.
“He is like a dictator,” Daria Montañez said, “stealing our health and education.”
The three college students said that next year, when they graduate, they’ll be leaving the island in order to pursue jobs they say aren’t available here, in large part, because of their government’s corruption.