Thousands of protesters in Puerto Rico are demanding Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resign over corruption charges and what many believe are misogynistic private messages he shared with officials.
Protesters hurled bricks, glass and fireworks, at police Wednesday evening in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Police fired tear gas in response as they attempt to clear the streets. Authorities also shot rubber bullets into the crowd, which included celebrities such as Ricky Martin and award-winning actor Benicio Del Toro.
People have lit up the streets for five consecutive days, urging Rosselló to resign in the wake of corruption charges and the leaking of a private correspondence between him and close associates. The messages reportedly include misogynistic and homophobic comments, as well as cynical comments about deaths following Hurricane Maria.
Martin and the other celebrities asked participants to protest peacefully. “Puerto Rico, say present without fear. Let’s march in peace and remain firm and assertive,” he told NBC reporters Wednesday. “When Puerto Rico unites, we accomplish wonderful things and we can change the course of history.” Del Toro made similar comments.
“I’m here in support of the people of Puerto Rico,” he said during the rally. Others flocked to social media to voice their opposition to Rosselló, who is an advocate of making Puerto Rico a free state.
“They made fun of our dead! Not even in the chats that I’m in with my friends I talk about the people in my country like that,” René Pérez Joglar, a Grammy-winning artist, told reporters in Spanish ahead of Wednesday’s rally. “People are angry with the things that the people in this Cabinet have done… The people don’t want him there!”