Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans are expected to gather for the country#8217s largest protest in recent memory on Monday, declaring that they won#8217t stop until Gov. Ricardo Rosselloacute resigns.
The mass protest comes a day after Rosselloacute announced he would not resign, but he would step down as leader of the New Progressive Party and that he would not seek re-election. ldquoTo every Puerto RicanmdashI have heard you, I have committed errors but I am a good man who has a great love for his island and itrsquos people,rdquo the San Juan governor said Sunday. ldquoIn spite of everything, I recognize that apologizing isnrsquot enough, that only my work will help restore confidence#8230 facing that scenario, I announce to you that I will not seek re-election next year.rdquo
Rosselloacute said he wants to leave his predecessor a good economy and have a smooth transition, but protestors say that there will be no peace until he resigns. Puerto Ricans who are protesting say they feel Rosselloacute#8217s announcement was insulting, and it has only fueled their resolve.
Today#8217s mass protest comes after nearly two weeks of marches targeted at the governor, have been joined by some of the island#8217s biggest stars, including Bad Bunny and Ricky Martin. The protests began after offensive chat messages between Rosselloacute and his allies leaked to the media. The messages exposed what protesters called a reprehensible indifference to Hurricane Maria victims, as well as alarming instances of bigotry and sexism. And following the arrests of two of Rosselloacute#8217s top officials on charges of fraud, the messages inflamed anger over what many say is the Puerto Rican government#8217s incompetence and corruption following the devastating 2017 storm and years of economic trouble.Protesters demanding #RickyRenuncia—a hashtagged demand for the governor's resignation—took to the streets of San Juan on July 17, 2019. Christopher Gregory for TIME
For many on the ground, forcing Rosselloacute#8217s resignation would be just the first step in fixing a government they feel has let them down when they needed them the most mdash and a culmination of years of bad economic policy, natural disaster and corruption that have pushed many everyday Puerto Ricans to the edge.
Rochester, N.Y. resident Milagros Concepcion, 48, arrived in San Juan Monday morning to attend today#8217s protest. She says marchers were lively and peaceful, with every groupmdashincluding people with disabilities, young and old and the LGBTQ communitymdashrepresented.